Food Safety Food Safety

The Cloncurry Shire Council aims to promote and maintain environmental health across the shire. Food safety is an important issue for everyone. Food businesses are required to ensure that they handle, store, display and sell food in a safe manner.

Hand Washing

Washing your hands significantly reduces the number of bacteria on your hands. It is considered to be the most important measure to reduce the likelihood of infection in the food service industry. Hand washing facilities must be provided in food premises where hands are likely to become a source of contamination. All food premises must have hand washing facilities that are located where they can be easily accessed by all food handlers.

Chilled Storage and Display                                                                                          

Potentially hazardous foods such as raw and cooked meat, dairy products, seafood, cooked rice and pasta and food containing eggs (e.g. quiche) must be stored at 5°C or below. Food temperatures above 5°C are in the “Danger Zone”. When food is in this danger zone food poisoning bacteria rapidly multiply in numbers which may cause illness.

Unless the food business can demonstrate another safe alternative, the Food Safety Standard requires potentially hazardous food to be kept under temperature control at all times including:
•    When it is being stored
•    Displayed
•    Transported; and
•    When received by customers

Personal Hygiene for Food Handlers

Food handlers have responsibilities to minimise the risk of food being contaminated. This means that they must not be ill whilst they are working and use hygienic practices when handling food.

The term handling in relation to food should not be taken in the literal sense, but as a more general term that refers to various techniques used to safely manage food and drinks. Section 15 of Food Safety Standard 3.2.2 outlines requirements for Hygiene of Food Handlers. The personal hygiene of food handlers must be of a level that minimises the contamination of food.

Hair, fingernails, jewellery and adhesive dressings and other bandages can become a source of contamination.

Thawing Food Safely

Freezing is an excellent way of extending the life of foods. However, it can be fraught with danger and can easily cause outbreaks of food poisoning if some simple rules are not followed.

Foods requiring most care include sauces, red and white meat, cooked rice and pastas, fish, dairy products, stew and casseroles. The temperature zone between 5°C and 60°C is called the Danger Zone because it produces optimum conditions for certain bacteria to multiply in certain foods. When thawing food, keep it out of the danger zone for a minimum amount of time. The safest place to thaw food is in the refrigerator overnight.

Thawing frozen potentially hazardous food may pose a food safety risk if the temperature of the food is prolonged between 5°C and 60°C.

Cooking and Reheating Food

All potentially hazardous foods need to be cooked adequately to ensure food poisoning bacteria are destroyed.

All foods that require to be cooked must reach an internal temperature of on or above 60°C. You can check this by using your probe thermometer, ensuring it is sanitised before and after use.

Hot Storage and Display

The Food Safety Standard requires potentially hazardous food to be kept under temperature control when it is being stored, displayed or transported, unless the food business has safe alternative arrangements in place.

The Standard also requires a food business to take all practicable measures to ensure potentially hazardous food is received under temperature control.

Preventing Vermin and Harbourage

Food businesses must take all reasonable measures to prevent the harbourage and entry of pests into their food premises or food vehicles. This includes having screen doors and blocking any gaps in walls and ceilings.

Stock Rotation 

Stock Control is important to understand as it ensures that foods are not kept beyond their shelf life and that food is safe and suitable for consumption. Food that is left for too long and in unfavourable conditions, bacteria can begin to multiply. Even foods that are tinned or frozen still have a shelf life and can deteriorate over time if kept for too long. Foods that are stored for too long in unfavourable conditions can become more contaminated through contact with food handlers, pests etc.

Separation of Raw and Cooked Food

Storing your food correctly and keeping food at a safe temperature is very important especially in the tropics. Poor temperature control or cross-contamination can lead to serious health risks including food poisoning. Food businesses must, when storing food, store the food in such a way that it is protected from the likelihood of contamination.