19 November 2021
As a region prone to natural disasters such as bushfire and flood, this year’s message during Australian Food Safety Week “Be prepared” is particularly timely and relevant for the Southern Downs community heading into the summer months.
Australian Food Safety Week, held from 13 to 20 November 2021, promotes reducing the risk of food poisoning and the 2021 campaign directly targets recovering communities to build reliance to emergency events by preparing basic food safety toolkits and following safe food practices.
Southern Downs Local Disaster Coordinator Michael Bell encouraged the community to take some basic steps to get ready ahead of bushfire and flood season.
“Food poisoning is unpleasant but avoidable. Following the basic guidelines outlined during Australian Food Safety Week provides safe hygiene rules of how to store and prepare food to keep you and your family safer,” Mr Bell said.
“Whether it is a natural disaster, neighbourhood emergency or a pandemic, we know our food supply can be disrupted.
“Power failures often go hand in hand with a natural disaster and may require you to prepare food differently for a period of time.
“It is important to have an adequate supply of food, water and other emergency provisions to last your household from a few days up to a 14-day stay at home by pre-stocking your pantry with long shelf life items.
“We want our community to be prepared especially ahead of summer and now is a good time to get organised. A little preparation can be a big help down the track in an emergency situation.”
Council’s tips include:
Prepare your pantry. Use the pantry list at https://foodsafety.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/pantrylist-2015.pdf to prepare yourself this season.
Buy a thermometer. Purchase a fridge thermometer and a cooking/meat thermometer. Use by dates on refrigerated food only apply if your fridge is running at or below 5°C so check the temperature to prevent bacteria growth and reduce food waste.
Plan for a power outage. To make sure accessing food is the least of your worries during a disaster, keep a manual can opener handy, a good supply of heat beads or bottled gas to cook on the BBQ. Also store food well above floodwater levels if you are in an area affected by flooding and have eskies, ice bricks or gel packs ready frozen to keep food cold if needed.
Take a food safety course. Learn more about food safety to help keep you and your family safer. It will also come in handy if you’re looking at volunteering in the school canteen or helping out with a community sausage sizzle. Find out more at https://foodsafety.asn.au/food-safety-training/.
Learn more about food safety in emergencies and test your knowledge on the Food Safety Information Council website at https://foodsafety.asn.au/food-safety-in-emergencies/ or scan the QR code below for more information.