By Jean Balchin 13/02/2018


It’s swiftly coming up to that time again, where hordes of students return to the major cities for their tertiary education (not to mention flat initiations, couch burning, toga parties and dodgy drinking decisions). This time of the year also coincides with peaks in Campylobacter and Salmonella food poisoning cases among those aged between 20 and 25 years old.

Food Safety Information Council consumer research shows young people are likely to have poorer knowledge of food safety basics such as washing hands, correct cooking temperatures, riskier foods and fridge safety. This is of particular concern as one of the part time jobs that young people are likely to take is working as a food handler.

As the academic year begins, the Food Safety Information Council, together with their member Cater Care, have launched a food safety tips poster for young people leaving home to start university and college.

Council Chair, Rachelle Williams, said that young people are at risk of getting food poisoning.

“While the highest recorded rates of Campylobacter and Salmonella cases are among small children under 5 years old there is also a peak for those aged between 20 and 25 years old which is the age group that many young people leave home for the first time.”

“Our consumer research shows young people are likely to have poorer knowledge of food safety basics such as washing hands, correct cooking temperatures, riskier foods and fridge safety. This is of particular concern as one of the part time jobs that young people are likely to take is working as a food handler.”

“Students also tend to live in shared accommodation where the hygiene of the communal kitchen and fridge is easily neglected. There are an estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year and a case of gastro can seriously ruin the fun of those first few months away from home.”

Here are five simple tips to ensure that you are safe from food poisoning:

  1. CLEAN! Wash your hands with soap and running water before handling food. Also, wash the dishes regularly and keep the kitchen clean and sparkling.
  2. CHILL! Keep the fridge at 5°C or below and clean it out regularly. Bring your takeaway straight home and refrigerate any leftovers within 2 hours and use or freeze them within 3 days.
  3. COOK! Cook poultry or minced products to 75°C in the centre. Be especially careful with your chicken. Be aware of the risk of raw or minimally cooked egg dishes.
  4. SEPARATE! Prevent cross contamination, especially between raw meat or poultry and other foods that won’t be cooked like salads.
  5. DO NOT COOK FOR OTHERS IF YOU HAVE GASTRO! You could make them sick too. It’s far better to ask someone else to cook, or get a takeaway pizza.

The Food Safety Information Council would like to thank Cater Care for developing this poster, which can be downloaded here.