Food Safety

Food safety and safe food handling is important to understand and follow so you can keep yourself and your family healthy.

Caring for your food is important to avoid food poisoning from bacteria which can grow to dangerous levels in the wrong environment. Storing food carefully can reduce waste and can save money and shopping time.

Every year in Australia, food poisoning causes 120 deaths, 1.2 million visits to doctors, and 300,000 prescriptions for antibiotics.

Food poisoning is easily preventable by cleaning equipment well and cooking, chilling and separating foods effectively.


  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm soapy water and dry your hands for 20 seconds before starting to cook. Repeat frequently, especially after handling raw meats, poultry or vegetables that look dirty.
  • Wash and dry chopping boards, utensils and work surfaces after preparing raw meats and poultry.
  • Only use thoroughly cleaned equipment for food that will not be cooked or heated.
  • Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before preparing.


  • Cook poultry, hamburger, minced and stuffed meats and sausages until juices run clear.
  • Defrost frozen poultry, minced, rolled and stuffed meats thoroughly before cooking.
  • Always follow cooking instructions on packaged foods.
  • Reheat foods to steaming hot all the way through before eating.
  • Cooked foods (including vegetables and rice) should never be reheated more than once.
  • Keep hot foods steaming hot, at or above 60°C .


  • Keep your fridge at 5°C and your freezer at -15°C.
  • Keep cooked and perishable foods in the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerate hot foods as soon as they stop steaming.
  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly.
  • Defrost food in the fridge, not on the sink or bench.
  • If you use a microwave to defrost foods, cook them immediately.
  • If in doubt, throw it out.


  • Keep raw meat and poultry from touching other food.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry in the bottom of the fridge or in a sealed container so it can't drip onto other food.
  • Cover all stored food.

The FOODcents program is no longer active in WA

A new interactive, cooking and nutrition program Food Sensations® for Adults is now available. Individuals and groups can book into the new program.

Click to find out more