How do bacteria and viruses get into raw food?
a) From food handlers’ unwashed hands
b) From the soil or compost it is grown in
c) From the animals food comes from
d) Dirty kitchen equipment
e) By contact from other contaminated food
f) From dirty irrigation water
g) All of the above
Answer: g) All of the above These examples have been linked to food poisoning outbreaks. Raw food isn’t sterile as it comes from animals or it grows in soil. People handle the food and can contaminate it if they don’t wash their hands. In some cases kitchen or processing equipment isn’t cleaned properly or food comes in contact with other contaminated food.
When should you wash fruit and vegetables?
a) Before you put them in the fridge or fruit bowl
b) Just before you eat them
c) Don’t know
Answer: b) Ideally you should wash them under running water and dry just before you eat them, although this may not always practical for school or work lunches, for example. If you wash them before refrigerating or storing in the fruit bowl there is a greater risk of mould growing.
Which of the following raw foods has had a food poisoning outbreak linked to them in Australia in the last 24 months?
a) Unpasteurised (raw) milk
b) Seed/bean sprouts
c) Raw or undercooked egg dishes
d) Frozen berries
f) All of the above
Answer: f) All of the above have been linked to food poisoning outbreaks.
Which fresh foods are more of a risk for food poisoning?
a) Imported food
b) Australian grown food
c) Neither one nor the other
Answer: c) Neither one nor the other. Food poisoning outbreaks are rare in Australia as we have strict regulation for the safety of imported and locally
Eggs from your own chickens are less likely to give you food poisoning than shop bought eggs.
c) Don’t know
Answer: b) False. Shop bought eggs are commercially washed and it is illegal to sell cracked or dirty eggs. While it is great to have your own chickens and eggs just be aware that the outer shell will be contaminated and they could get cracks. Remember to gather eggs from their nesting places daily. Carefully check any eggs for cracks and use those eggs for food, such as a cake, that will be completely cooked. Wipe off any visible dirt with a dry cloth or paper towel but don’t wash the eggs. Then wash your hands with soap and water and dry thoroughly. If your children, grandchildren or friends have been helping to collect eggs get them to wash their hands too.
Which of the following foods is it OK to cut/scrape off mould and eat?
a) Fruit and veg
c) Soft cheese
d) None of the above
Answer: e) None of the above. It’s a lot safer than not cutting it off. Some moulds make and release poisons, called mycotoxins, into the food that could, over time, make you very sick. Why they do it is not especially well understood but that doesn’t make it any safer. These mouldy foods should simply be discarded (ideally, to compost). For others, such as an expensive, vintage cheddar cheese, you can salvage and use the unaffected parts without exposing yourself to a health risk see more advice
Who is most at risk if they get food poisoning?
a) Children under 7 years
b) People over 65 years
c) Pregnant women
d) People with weak immune systems
e) All of the above
Answer: e) All of the above. All these groups can get very sick from gastro. Small children don’t have fully developed immune systems until they turn 7 years and little kids can get dehydrated quickly if the get food poisoning. The same with people over 65 as their immune system is declining. Many people have reduced immune systems because of illness or medical treatments. Food poisoning is serious for pregnant women and especially serious in the case of listeriosis where listeria can affect the unborn baby. It is important that anyone in these groups get medical advice if they get food poisoning.
When you are travelling overseas in a country without safe drinking water which of the following is safest to eat?
a) Fresh fruit and salad vegetables
b) Fruit you can peel yourself
c) Cooked food
d) Eggs that are raw or have runny yolks
e) Unpasteurised milk
f) Ice in drinks
g) Tap water
h)All of the above
Answers: c) Cooked food is safe when properly cooked. Cooking in some countries can be risky if ingredients are added after cooking e.g. Asian dishes and prawns, garnishes such as fresh herbs or cooking is inadequate.
However, b) Fruit you can peel yourself such as a banana or orange is fine. If you want to enjoy your holiday avoid all the others, as they are likely to be contaminated with bacteria (and, no, alcohol doesn’t kill bacteria!)
Which Australians have the best food safety knowledge according to our surveys?
a) Men of all age groups
b) University educated women
c) West Australians
d )Young people under 30
e) People living in rural or regional communities.
f) All of the above
Answer: e) People living in rural or regional communities consistently show better food safety knowledge than those living in capital cities – perhaps because they live closer to where food is produced. All the other groups don’t do as well especially men of all age groups and young people under 30. Though women shouldn’t be too smug as those with a tertiary education show lower knowledge of food safety than women with only a secondary education, we don’t know why but possibly because they may have studied fewer practical subjects such as home economics. All states and territories have similar levels of food safety knowledge except WA which is several percentage points lower– we have no idea why (come on WA get your act together!)
Hamburgers can be served rare:
Always cooked minced meat products such as hamburgers and sausages until they are 75°C inside because bacteria on the outside of pieces of meat can be transferred throughout the meat when it is minced. See more on meat safety