Don't spoil your Aussie BBQ with salmonella

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Following high numbers of Salmonella cases in 2016, SA Health is reminding people that safe food handling practices are key to a successful barbecue.

SA Health’s Director of Food Safety and Nutrition, Dr Fay Jenkins, said practicing safe food techniques will avoid spoiling the traditional Australia Day barbecue.

“Last year 1,563 South Australians contracted Salmonella, which is the highest number of cases we have seen in recent years,” Dr Jenkins said.

“We have seen Salmonella case numbers increase over the last four years, which can in part be attributed to a number of food outbreaks and improved laboratory testing, but people still need to make sure they are handling food properly to avoid any illness.

“Australia Day is the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends for a barbecue and with simple, sensible food safety handling it will be a great day for all.

“The biggest risk with barbecues is the potential for contracting Salmonella food poisoning from mixing raw and cooked meats, eating raw egg products like homemade mayonnaise or aioli, or consuming food that has been out of the fridge for too long.”

With the sun forecast to be shining this Australia Day, Dr Jenkins said some simple reminders can reduce the risk of food poisoning.

“First and foremost, people need to wash their hands in warm soapy water before preparing and cooking all food and especially after handling raw meat, chicken or eggs,” Dr Jenkins said.

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

“Storing raw meat under five degrees Celsius, keeping raw and cooked meats separate at all times and using a meat thermometer to ensure meat has reached 75 degrees Celsius while cooking can minimise any risk of Salmonella contamination.

“Avoiding pouring uncooked juices or marinades that have been in contact with meat over cooked food will also reduce illness from harmful bacteria.

“If you want to make raw egg products like mayonnaise or aioli, make it on the day and keep it refrigerated until ready to eat.

“Washing fruit and vegetables that will be eaten raw in salads is also an important step in safe food preparation.”

Dr Jenkins said while eating barbecue leftovers is delicious, if the food has been left in the sun for too long it will not be safe to eat.

“If perishable foods and leftovers have been left out of the fridge for less than two hours they should be okay to eat, but food that has been unrefrigerated for more than four hours is not safe and should be thrown out,” Dr Jenkins said.

“And while many of us are guilty of popping the leftovers on the kitchen bench to get them out of the sun, they should be placed in the fridge as soon as possible and used within two to three days.

“Everyone loves a barbecue, but no one loves food poisoning. By following these simple food safety tips you can cook without making anyone crook.”

Symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

There were 1,563 cases of Salmonella notified to SA Health in 2016, an almost 23 per cent increase on case numbers for 2015.

For more food safety tips, please go to

Salmonella cases in South Australia notified to SA Health, 2011 – 2016














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