Date PostedDecember 21, 2013

Aussie Consumers Ignoring Food Safety Advice

A food safety warning to all consumers in Oz, always be vigilant to food safety. This sadly is not being adhered to in Oz according to a survey which forms part of Australian Food Safety Week.

Apparently in Oz few adults are taking cognisance of food safety advice on food labels and with summer ahead are taking serious food risks by not using insulated bags or coolers to transport refrigerated food.

Australian Food Safety week was recently observed from 11-17 November. The Food Safety Information Council chairman, Dr Michael Eyles expressed how disturbing the findings of research were which revealed that only 55 per cent of respondents in a recent Newspoll Survey read and complied with the “use by” dates on food packaging.

This is significant because in Oz we see an estimated 5.4 million cases of foodborne illness each year and food poisoning results in an average of 120 deaths. It is also a costly problem resulting in 1.2 million visits to the doctors, 300,000 prescriptions for antibiotics and 2.1 billion work days lost annually – the annual cost of food poisoning in the country is estimated at $1.25 billion.

The survey shows that consumers in Oz are ignoring the information available on labels which are meant to help them and make their food safer.

According to an informative post on consumers should take the following advice to rectify the problem by asking themselves,

* “Will I eat all of this by the ‘use by’ date?”

* “Do I have room in the fridge/freezer?”

* “Do I really want to cook this for that long?”

“When shopping, consumers should choose products they know they will consume or freeze within the ‘use-by’ time. They should never buy products after the ‘use by’ date, in fact it’s illegal to sell such food due to the risk of food poisoning,” Dr Eyles said.

“Food past the ’best before’ date is legal to sell and is often on special, as this date refers to quality not safety “

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People should also remember that storage instructions have a significant influence on the safety of perishable food and are more important than the sell by or best before dates sometimes. For example if a certain food item is meant to be refrigerated or frozen and isn’t, it could spoil before the date on the packaging because bacteria will multiply quickly making the food spoil.

Dr Eyles goes on to explain:

Consumers shouldn’t rely on how they stored food in the past. Products change with food trends, and many are now lower in salt and sugar than in the past. Food manufacturers know the recipe, the manufacturing process, and other details that indicate how long a product will last and how to store and cook it safely.

“Read the advice on the label and you may find that the products you used to keep open in the cupboard now need to be refrigerated,” Dr Eyles said.

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