Avoid food poisoning this Australia Day

22 January 2018

A rise in Salmonella cases has prompted a reminder for those planning an Australia Day barbecue to prepare their feast safely, in order to avoid food poisoning.

Director of Food and Controlled Drugs, Dr Fay Jenkins, said there had been an almost 70 per cent increase in cases over the past five years.

“As well as outbreaks linked to food outlets, we have also seen a number of people getting sick after preparing food in the home,” Dr Jenkins said.

“Cooking a barbecue is a popular pastime on Australia Day, however bad food handling techniques can lead to serious illness or even hospitalisation.

“Salmonellosis can be contracted by cross contamination from mixing raw and cooked meats and poultry, eating raw egg products like homemade mayonnaise or aioli, or consuming food that has been out of the fridge for too long.

“There are some simple reminders to reduce the risk of food poisoning such as washing your hands in warm soapy water before preparing and cooking all food, especially after handling raw meat.

“Using clean tongs and utensils to handle food and keeping separate utensils and plates for raw and cooked meat will prevent the transfer of bacteria.

“Storing meat and poultry under 5°C until the barbecue is ready, keeping raw and cooked meats separate at all times, and using a meat thermometer to ensure meat has reached 75°C while cooking can minimise any risk of contamination.

“You can also reduce the risk of illness from harmful bacteria by not pouring juices or marinades used for raw meat and poultry over the cooked meats.

“While barbecue leftovers can be delicious, they should be refrigerated within two hours and then used within two to three days, as food that has been left in the heat will not be safe to eat.”

There were 1,426 reported cases of salmonella infection in South Australia in 2017, compared to 842 cases in 2012.

Symptoms of salmonella food poisoning include abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting and loss of appetite. For more information food safety, visit the SA Health website on

Salmonella cases

Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Year to date
Annual cases 842 977 1210 1271 1561 1426 128

Four basic food safety tips

Remember these four basic food safety tips:

  • COOK food thoroughly and use a thermometer when cooking meat.
  • CLEAN hands, surfaces, equipment and utensils that come into contact with food.
  • CHILL cooked food quickly, prepare raw egg products at the last minute, keep them cool until eaten and have them out of the fridge for as little time as possible.
  • SEPARATE raw and uncooked food from cooked and ready-to-eat products. For example, separate raw meats and poultry from cooked, and raw egg from salads.

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