A new on-line food training program has been developed by the Victoria, Australia Department of Health to improve everyone’s knowledge of safe food handling practices.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr John Carnie teamed up with celebrity chef Gabriel Gate at Federation Square recently to demonstrate the new program, Do Food Safely.

do food safely.jpg“The on-line training program was designed to specifically engage young people who are either currently working in the food industry or considering employment in the industry,” Dr Carnie said.

“In fact, early testing to put the new system through its paces suggests that the program will have a much wider appeal than was originally intended.

“The program includes six topics on food safety and a final quiz. Participants who score more than 90 percent on the quiz are awarded a certificate.

Participants who complete the whole on-line course will be able to:

  • Define food handlers and their responsibilities with regard to the law;
  • Describe the ways in which food can become contaminated and potentially unsafe;
  • Describe the common causes and symptoms of food poisoning;
  • Explain the do’s and don’ts for maintaining good personal hygiene;
  • Handle food correctly at all stages of preparation;
  • Explain the do’s and don’ts for accepting food deliveries, storing, displaying and transporting food; and
  • Explain the do’s and don’ts for cleaning the food preparation surfaces and equipment.

Gabriel Gate spoke about the importance of food safety and demonstrated how well the on-line program works by completing a unit of the program with a student.

The new on-line learning program can be found at: http://dofoodsafely.health.vic.gov.au/

Dr Carnie said food safety is always at important but, at this time of year when there are so many opportunities to entertain family and friends, it is worth reminding Victorians of some simple steps that can stop food from turning nasty.

“Firstly, keep cold food cold and keep hot food hot. Hot means hotter than 75 degrees Celsius (“piping hot”) and cold means colder than 5 degrees Celsius. A food thermometer could be a useful investment.

“Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food, and after cutting up raw meat or vegetables. Use separate chopping boards for different foods. This prevents cross contamination of ready to eat foods with bacteria from foods that will be cooked.

“Leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as possible, and if they need to be reheated, they should also reach 75 degrees Celsius.” Dr Carnie said.

The Department of Health, through its Better Health Channel and Food Safety website, provides lots of information on food safety.