Don’t be a turkey and stuff up your festive season – be food safe!

Released 21/12/2018

With the festive season upon us, Canberrans are being reminded to be food safe when preparing and storing food for family and friends.

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly said there are some simple things people can do to not only minimise the risk of someone getting sick, but also to keep food for longer with proper handling.

“Christmas means leftovers! And entertaining family and friends is a lot of fun over the holidays,” Dr Kelly said.

“Due to the warm weather though, it is easy for some of your favourite holiday treats to be spoiled in the heat.

“The last thing anyone wants for Christmas is to spend time at the GP, a Walk-in Centre or as a last resort the Emergency Department with food poisoning.

“So Canberrans, don’t stuff up your festive season, just follow these simple food safety tips.”


Food safety begins with planning at the grocery store. Remember to plan shopping so you can keep your perishable food items cool until you get home. Collect chilled or frozen items last, and avoid leaving food in hot cars.

Serving times

Reduce the risk of illness from food by serving food as soon as possible after it is cooked. Reheat food once only and throw out any leftovers.

Temperature control

Cook high risk foods such as poultry, minced meat and sausages to 75°C and when thawing foods, do so in a microwave or fridge.

Food storage

Rule number one is store cold food under 5°C and hot food above 60°C. Don’t keep perishables such as salads, quiches and cold meats out of the fridge for longer than four hours. This is particularly important if people are hosting parties or gatherings where people might have brought a plate of food that was prepared earlier.

If you are running out of room in the fridge, another tip is to take out items such as drinks and chill these in a bucket with ice instead. Uncut whole fruits like Watermelon and Pineapple can also be kept outside of the fridge.

Bringing a plate

If you are taking a plate to a party, make sure you chill the food well before taking it out of the fridge to transport. Also use insulated containers with lots of ice-bricks to keep the food chilled. Another tip is to cover all ready-to-eat food securely.

Keeping it clean

Don’t forget food hygiene – always wash your hands before and after handling food.

Dr Kelly said there were plenty of other food safety tips on the ACT Health website and people were encouraged to check it out online.

For more information visit the ACT Health Website or view the Food Safety at Parties Factsheet:

- Statement ends -

Section: ACT Health Directorate | Media Releases

«ACT Government Media Releases | «Directorate Media Releases