safefood reminds consumers to practice food safety

safefood and celebrity chef unite to tackle summer food safety

25 July, 2006. As part of its ongoing summer cooking campaign, safefood has teamed up with Australian celebrity chef Ben O’Donoghue to urge consumers to be mindful when cooking minced, skewered or rolled meats such as burgers, sausages and kebabs. These meats should be thoroughly cooked and never served “rare” or pink in the middle, no matter what time of year.

With whole cuts of meat e.g. steak, any harmful bacteria will live on the outside only and these cuts can be cooked to preference e.g. “rare”. But when meat is minced or chopped up, any bacteria present are moved around. These meats must be cooked thoroughly until piping hot all the way through to kill any bacteria that could cause food poisoning.

To check that a burger or sausage is cooked thoroughly, cut into the middle with a clean knife and check that it is piping hot all the way through, there is no pink meat left and the juices run clear. If you need an extra check, disposable temperature sticks which can help you determine if the meat is cooked are available from safefood for a limited period by calling 1850 404 567.

Celebrity chef, Ben O’Donoghue, said, “As an Australian and a chef, I know that fresh ingredients and good food are part of a healthy lifestyle. But it’s a mistake to think that barbecued food needs to be burnt-looking or overcooked. Knowing how to cook food properly using a barbecue is as important as knowing great recipes. If you cook any kind of meat that has been minced, skewered or rolled, do cook it thoroughly as recommended by safefood .”

Dr David McCleery, microbiologist with safefood , added “Recent research has shown that 50% of burgers prepared in the home were not properly cooked and that harmful bacteria were found in up to 40% of foods cooked on the barbecue. However, these bacteria are rendered harmless when meat is cooked thoroughly. safefood recommends that meat is cooked until it is piping hot all the way through, there is no pink meat left and until the juices run clear. Good food hygiene and safe cooking practices apply all year round, not just for the summer months and the barbecue.”

Further food safety advice for consumers and samples of temperature sticks are available by calling the safefood helpline 1850 404 567 or visiting the safefood website at www.safefoodonline.com.

Ends

For further information please contact

WHPR

Andrew Hyland or Niamh Burdett

Tel: 01 4480060 086 608 6764 (Niamh) 087 989 1682

Or

safefood

Fiona Gilligan

Tel: (01) 6690030