- About Us
- Useful Links
- Health and Well Being
- Your Estate
The way we cook our food is as important as the way we prepare and store it. Inadequate cooking is a common cause of food poisoning. Most foods, especially meat, poultry and eggs, should be cooked thoroughly to kill most food poisoning bacteria.
In general, food should be cooked to a temperature of at least 75°C or hotter. When food is cooked, it should be eaten promptly, kept hotter than 60°C, or cooled, covered and stored in the fridge or freezer.
Some people are more at risk from food poisoning than others. Vulnerable groups include pregnant women, young children, the elderly and anyone with an illness. Special care should be taken when preparing, cooking, serving and storing food for these groups.
Food poisoning bacteria grows more easily on some foods than others. These high-risk foods include:
High risk foods and the temperature danger zone
Take care with high risk foods. You should:
Cook all food to a temperature of 75°C
How you cook food is very important. Different foods need a different approach:
Foods with raw eggs
Take extra care when preparing foods that use raw egg, such as eggnog and homemade mayonnaise. Bacteria on the eggshells can contaminate food and cause food poisoning.
Avoid giving food made with raw eggs to pregnant women, young children, elderly people and anyone with an illness.
Microwaves are a quick and convenient way to cook food. However, if they are not used correctly, they can cook food unevenly. This may leave food partially cooked or not reaching a temperature of 75°C. When you cook food in the microwave:
Cooling and storing
If you need to store food for later use, wait until the steam stops rising, cover the food and put it in the fridge. This helps keep the food out of the temperature danger zone as fast as possible. Large portions of food cool faster when you put them into shallow trays or divide them into smaller pieces.
If you need to keep food warm, keep it hotter than 60°C and out of the temperature danger zone.
Under ideal conditions, cooked food can be stored in the fridge for a few days. If you want to keep cooked food longer, freeze the food immediately after cooling in the fridge.
Always store cooked food separately from raw food, especially raw meats, poultry and fish. Keep raw meats and poultry at the bottom of the fridge to avoid raw juices dripping onto other food. Ensure that all food is covered or sealed.
Reheat food to steaming hot
Reheat food until it is steaming hot – above 75°C or, preferably, boiling. Food should steam throughout, not just on the edges. Take care when reheating food in a microwave oven. Follow the same actions as when cooking with a microwave to ensure all the food is heated to steaming hot.
Where to get help
Things to remember