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Busting the food safety myths

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Australian Food Safety Week 8 – 15 November 2015

With Australian Food Safety Week in full swing, it’s time to bust some of the many myths about food poisoning.




Food poisoning from the last thing you ate Food poisoning may not be caused by the last thing you ate. Sometimes symptoms can take several days or weeks to appear.
Five second rule The often quoted ‘five second rule’ (that you can pick up food dropped on the floor and eat it if it has been there less than five seconds) just isn’t true. Bacteria don’t keep a stopwatch and wait before contaminating the food.
Food poisoning is a mild illness Each year an estimated 1 million Australians have to visit a doctor with food poisoning, 32,000 people end up in hospital and 86 people die.
It is OK to use eggshell to remove broken shell from my egg mix The outside of an egg could be contaminated with food poisoning bacteria so remove any shell pieces with a clean spoon or fork. If you accidentally drop pieces of shell into your egg mixture, it too could be contaminated and the mixture will need thorough cooking.

Reduce your risk by following these simple tips:

Clean – wash hands with water and soap, then dry hands thoroughly before cooking and after handling raw meat, chicken or eggs.

Chill – transport your chilled or frozen food home from the shops in a cooler bag or esky. Use a fridge thermometer to make sure your fridge is running at or below 5ºC. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and refrigerate homemade whole egg mayonnaise immediately once prepared. Cooked food should be stored in covered containers and either put in the fridge to cool, or frozen immediately. Frozen foods should be defrosted in the fridge or microwave, not on the kitchen bench

Cook – chicken, minced or boned meats, hamburger, stuffed meats and sausages right through until they reach 75°C using a meat thermometer. Serve hot food steaming hot above 60ºC. Always follow cooking instructions on packaged foods.

Separate – food should be stored in covered containers in the fridge, with raw meats and poultry in the bottom of the fridge so the juices don’t contaminate food on lower shelves. Don’t put cooked meat back on the plate the raw meat was on. Discard cracked eggs or cook thoroughly, for example in a baked cake.

Gold Coasters can test their knowledge of food safety by taking the Food Safety Quiz at

Eggs, not milk, the food safety risk – survey finds many Australians not identifying food poisoning risks correctly. Find out more.

Media Contacts:
Sharon Jurd
5687 9000

Last updated 20 Dec 2016