Food Safety Week – Raw and risky foods

04 November 2016

The 20th Australian Food Safety Week will be held from 6–12 November 2016. The theme this year is Raw and risky foods.

This theme highlights a recent spate of high profile food poisoning outbreaks in Australia linked to raw foods such as unpasteurised milk, raw eggs, sprouts, frozen berries, and lettuce.

Raw foods and certain food preparation practices present risks to consumers. It important that consumers are aware of the potential risks before they eat raw or risky foods.

The consumption of almost any food involves a risk. There is no such thing as a perfectly safe food. Food manufacturers are required to have documented food safety programs for managing the risk associated with the foods we eat. However some foods present a geater risk than others and the way we as consumers handle, store, and prepare food also impacts on our safety.

In 2014 the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) commenced developing a framework to manage risky foods, with the focus very much on food businesses taking greater responsibility for ensuring the food they provide is safe, and enabling informed choice by consumers so they may take greater responsibility for managing the food risks that are personal to them.

In Australia certain foods are not permitted because of the risk to public health. Public health authorities also provide advice to vulnerable groups in the community such as pregnant women, the ill, and the elderly that are susceptible to illnesses such as foodborne listeriosis, about foods to avoid.

Raw milk is a food that is considered a risk to public health because no matter how carefully it has been produced it may contain harmful bacteria. Click here for more information on the risks associated with consuming raw milk.

So don’t be one of the estimated 4.1 million people who suffer from food poisoning each year in Australia. Always chose raw foods carefully, and follow reliable guidance on how to handle, store, and prepare such foods. Guidance on raw and risky foods may be found on the Food Safety Information Council website.