NZers poisoning themselves in the kitchen

Many New Zealanders are unknowingly poisoning themselves and their families, in the kitchen, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) says.

NZFSA commissioned consumer research ahead of this week's 'Kitchen Crimes Week' to help people avoid food poisoning.

Principal adviser Roger Cook said the research showed one in four New Zealanders had suffered from food poisoning in the past two years, and most believed they picked up the bug from food prepared outside the home.

"But that's not necessarily the case. We're holding Kitchen Crimes Week to remind people that about 40 percent of food poisoning is from kitchen crimes at home.

"The most common crimes are not washing your hands properly and not cleaning your chopping boards between preparing raw meat or poultry and ready-to-eat foods."

Mr Cook said food poisoning cost the country $86 million a year, mostly due to lost productivity from 5.3 million days off work.

NZFSA listed a top 10 list of ways to fight kitchen crimes:

• Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before, during and after preparing food.

• Use separate cloths for wiping hands and dishes - and make sure they are clean.

• Change your sponge and dishcloth regularly. For a quick clean, rinse well in warm soapy water and then microwave for 2-4 minutes on high … that'll kill most bugs.

• Keep raw and cooked foods, and the utensils and plates used for each, separate at all times.

• After cutting raw meat and poultry, wash your chopping board and knives thoroughly in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher.

• Cook chicken, mince and sausages right through. If in doubt, use a meat thermometer to check that these meats are cooked to the safe internal temperature (75degC).

• Perishable food can be left covered at room temperature for up to two hours. Then it should be eaten, refrigerated or thrown out.

• Make sure your fridge temperature stays in the 2degC to 4degC safe zone.

• Cover food before putting it in the fridge.

• Cover raw meat and store on the bottom shelf of the fridge so juices don't drip onto other food.


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