Foodborne illness: How do I prevent it?

Approximately 4.1 million cases of foodborne illness are estimated to occur in Australia each year, resulting in an estimated 31,920 hospitalisations and 86 deaths annually1.

Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV) works proactively with the Victorian dairy industry to protect consumers from potential foodborne illness. However it doesn’t end there. Safe dairy food handling and storage practices extend all the way to the home and the table. So you as a consumer have a role to play.

The World Health Organization has published the Five keys to safer food, which provide practical guidance to consumers about how to handle and prepare food:

Key 1: Keep clean
Key 2: Separate raw and cooked food
Key 3: Cook food thoroughly
Key 4: Keep food at safe temperatures
Key 5: Use safe water and raw materials.

We encourage consumers to get to know and practice proper food handling behaviors and habits, and to make safe choices about the food they consume. Importantly:

  • regularly clean and sanitise kitchen surfaces
  • avoid cross-contamination between raw and ready-to-eat foods
  • wash your hands before preparing food or eating
  • prepare, handle, and store dairy foods correctly
  • be careful about the food you chose – check use-by dates and don’t buy damaged packages
  • be a smart shopper – buy refrigerated and frozen foods last, and use a cooler pack so they remain at a reasonable temperature.