One of our favourite days to indulge our love of sport is Melbourne Cup day.
In less than a week, people all over Australia will be dressing up and going out to a celebration of the big race. Some of us will be celebrating at home or work with a few special nibbles and party foods.
If you are lucky a special brunch or lunch is on the agenda.
If you are catering for an event or just having family and friends come round please make sure you plan ahead for food purchases and food preparation.
Celebrations, lots of people, warm weather, food left out on the table, attention on other things, can all add up to a lapse in food safety controls with disastrous effects.
A few tips will help you put on the best Melbourne cup spread without the stress and without after effects for your guests.
If you are catering for guests (food and drinks)
- Don’t leave things to the last minute the shops will be busy, it will probably be a warm weather and your fridge might be a short of space since both food and drinks have to be provided.
- Work out how much food you are going to need, order it and arrange a time to pick up cold meats and chicken just before you need it ,
- sort out where you are going to store everything prior to the event ( organise covered storage containers that are the right size to fit in your fridge )
- Clean out your fridge to ensure it’s not too packed and air can circulate.
- To get more space in your fridge, keep the drinks elsewhere. Organise plastic tubs and ice for drinks or ask guests to bring their drinks in an esky with ice in it
On the day
- Clean all bench tops and tables well before you start
- Have wipes and sanitiser available for guests to clean hands with before eating
- Put food on platters just before serving
- Cover food that you put out, particularly if outdoors
- Put out small batches of food at a time and replenish as required
- Wash your hands frequently as you prepare and handle the food you are serving
- Use paper towel rather than cloth wipes for wiping spills (to avoid cross contamination of surfaces that you and the food may touch)
- Have a covered waste bin handy for guests so they can dispose of uneaten food. Scraps attract flies.
- Leftovers - unless you are sure about time/temperature history, best to throw out.
- Do not feed leftovers to pets. Many of the rich foods served at functions are not good for pets and too much food at once is not good for them.
If you are going to an event that is catered
- Make sure you check before you eat to ensure the food on offer has been looked after and is within the recommended time and temperature limits for safety. If in doubt don’t eat it.
- Ask for something that has been freshly prepared if the food has been sitting out for a while.
- Ensure food being served is kept below 5?C or above 60?C
- Avoid eating raw foods such as salad dressings and sauces made with raw eggs e.g. mayonnaise, hollandaise and aioli or uncooked foods containing raw eggs e.g. cookie dough, mousse, cheesecake, tiramisu
- Check to see if sauces or salad dressings are pasteurised and only consume freshly prepared food
It's the race that stops a nation so don't let food poisoning have you galloping!