Food safety and power outages

Important information for food businesses

Food businesses have a legal responsibility to produce food that is safe to eat. Potentially hazardous foods which have not been kept under temperature control for some time may not be safe to eat.

Potentially hazardous foods include:

  • cooked meats
  • dairy products
  • cooked pasta and rice
  • cooked meals with meat, fish or eggs
  • prepared salads
  • vegetables and fruit
  • seafood.

If power to food businesses was disrupted during Cyclone Marcus and afterwards, then food which was in fridges at the time must be thrown out now, if this has not been done already.

There is a real risk that bacteria and viruses which may be present in food can grow at high temperatures and cause people to become sick. Food poisoning is not just unpleasant, but can cause serious health risks for vulnerable people, especially the young, the elderly, pregnant women and people who are immuno-compromised.

Environmental Health Officers will be visiting food businesses this week and if a food business is not able to demonstrate that food has been kept within temperature control it may be seized and destroyed. The sale of unsafe food can also lead to significant penalties under the Food Act.

In accordance with the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code, food businesses must store potentially hazardous food under temperature control.

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