So it is near the end of Australian Food Safety Week 2013. The theme this year was all about shopping and food safety.
The Food Safety Information Council, which co-ordinates the week, has some food safety related research done for the week and found that people are generally not good at transporting cold food really well and are even worse at reading, and following, the labels on foods.
When I worked for Inghams (the big poultry company) doing product development, there was a set time each year when it was my job to review all the cooking and reheating instructions on every product. This was done to ensure that the products reached the required 75C minimum when reheated or cooked. In other words to ensure it was safe for consumption. To find that people are generally not using these, and other instructions on the foods they buy, is nothing short of frightening.
I think this was the really interesting find from the survey we had done, and it will be tested again at the post Food Safety Week survey, to see if the numbers have improved. I have a feeling that the number of people using the storage, cooking / reheating instructions will probably not have improved greatly, unfortunately. I think this is an issue on it's own and needs more than to be highlighted in a single week. This has the potential to make people very sick and all of us in the food industry should be working on letting as many know about the importance of these instructions as we can.
Another issue that also has the potential to make people sick is ice. We all know that when visiting many countries we should not drink the tap water because it is likely to make us sick. However,many people don't think that ice can also make us sick if it has not been handled properly.
Ice is water and as bacteria that make us sick need water, it is a perfect material for them to be in. So if we do not keep all the ice contact surfaces clean and ensure good handwashing, we have the potential to make our friends, family and customers sick. Ice machines and makers should be regularly cleaned and sanitised and many people forget to do this.
Today Tonight recently did a story about exactly this issue and interviewed me for it. The story isright here.
Food safety training is the best way that food businesses can ensure that staff know about the importance of food safety and their role within it. For tailored food safety training for your business, email The Green Food Safety Coach firstname.lastname@example.org