Summer is a great time for sharing meals together, but that can mean more food safety risks. Avoid making these 5 common food safety mistakes this season.

Summer is an endlessly fun and delicious time of year.

From work Christmas parties to family gatherings, it’s the season to spend time with friends, colleagues, and loved ones.

And the one thing most summer celebrations have in common?


Unfortunately, amongst all the frivolity, Kiwis can become a little relaxed about food safety. As many as 200,000 New Zealanders suffer from food poisoning every year.

Here are the five most common food safety mistakes that you can avoid for a healthy summer season.

1.Leaving food out after a meal

After a meal, it’s easy to sit back, grab a drink and relax as you chat and catch up.

However, leaving food out for too long can cause bacteria to multiply – especially on hot summer days.

Rustle everyone up after a meal and get those leftovers into the fridge or freezer ASAP. If food has been left for more than two hours, it’s best to throw it in the compost rather than risk eating it.

2. Washing raw chicken

It’s well known that chicken is a common culprit for campylobacter bacteria, which is why many of us are especially careful when handling, preparing and cooking poultry.

However, it’s a misconception that washing or rinsing raw chicken will help matters.

This action can lead to infecting kitchen surfaces, utensils, and dish cloths with the bacteria, so it’s best to simply cook the chicken to perfection to stave off unwanted bugs.

3. Travelling with food

Many of us will head away for the holidays or at least face a drive when heading to others’ homes for gatherings.

A good Kiwi will always bring a plate – but a great Kiwi will ensure that plate is carefully stored for the trip.

Hot summer days can raise the temperature in cars to uncomfortable levels, and if you’re transporting raw meat for a BBQ, it can increase the chance of harmful bacterial growth.

Use a chilly bin, ice, or ice packs to keep food at a safe cold temperature as you travel.

4. Never cleaning reusable bags

New Zealand made the switch from plastic to reusable shopping bags recently. While this is a good step for the environment, it can pose extra risks for food safety.

Be sure to clean your bags regularly, and if possible, use different bags for different products, such as a green-coloured bag for fresh produce, and a red one for meats.

5. Poor BBQ etiquette

Tis the season for BBQs, but there are a few common mistakes we’re making when it comes to our favourite backyard meal.

Firstly, a BBQ should have more than one set of utensils – such as a pair of tongs and spatula. Some homes only have one set, but if you’re using the same tools to shuffle raw chicken and turn cooked beef, you’re at the risk of cross-contamination.

Ensure you have enough tools to switch between raw and cooked.

Similarly, do not place raw and cooked foods right next to one another on the BBQ.

Symptoms of food poisoning

Sometimes, the season gets away on us, or perhaps you try a morsel of food that hasn’t been prepared properly.

Here are some common symptoms of food poisoning to watch out for:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild fever
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

Most symptoms are best managed with plenty of fluids and rest – although it’s best to check with your doctor if symptoms persist or seem extreme.

If you do experience diarrhea, help is on hand. DiaRelieve provides effective relief of diarrhoea for the whole family. It’s suitable for children aged 1 year and up, through to adults. The orange-flavoured powder can easily be mixed through liquid if symptoms strike. Keep a box on hand this summer – just in case!

Disclamer: This content is for informational purposes only and should not substitute advice from your healthcare professional. If symptoms persist or you require specialist advice, please consult your healthcare professional.

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