With Australia's hot climate, food can spoil quickly if not properly chilled, even during the colder months.

Food spoils most commonly between the temperatures of 5oC to 60oC. This is known as the temperature danger zone. It is important to limit the time that perishable food spends in this danger zone.

Ensure that your fridge is kept at 4-5oC to restrict bacteria from multiplying to levels that may cause food poisoning.

Use the following guide to decide if you should consume, store or throw out food that has been in the temperature danger zone:-

Less than 2 hours - Refrigerate or use immediately

Between 2 and 4 hours - Use immediately

More than 4 hours - Throw out

Handy Hint:
Remember, if in doubt, throw it out!

Transporting groceries:

The time that groceries spend in the temperature danger zone can pose a food safety risk. To prevent this:

  • Take insulated cold bags with you to the supermarket and use them to bring cold or frozen foods home
  • Choose chilled or frozen foods last
  • Go straight home from the supermarket and unpack cold or frozen foods immediately

When choosing chilled or frozen foods in your supermarket always check:-

  • the use-by date on each product
  • the packaging is undamaged, is not swollen and that seals are intact
  • chilled foods are refrigerated
  • frozen foods are not stacked above the load line in the freezer

Social gatherings:

There’s nothing worse than going to a social gathering, only to be struck with a bout of food poisoning hours later! BBQ's and parties provide a number of challenges in maintaining safe food practices as they are often large gatherings and involve the preparation, transportation and storage of both raw and cooked food.

Be prepared at your next party by:

  • Filling buckets or the laundry sink with ice for drinks, leaving more room in the fridge for food.
  • Dishing out only small quantities of chilled nibbles, such as dips, and replenish when needed, rather than leaving large quantities out at room temperature.
  • Use frozen ice-bricks and gel-packs in the esky to keep food cold.
  • Transporting food in cooler bags to keep food colder for longer.


Foodborne diseases- factsheets
B cereus [PDF]
C botulinum [PDF]
C perfringens [PDF]
Listeria [PDF]
Staphylococcus [PDF]
Vibrio species [PDF]

Keep it cool



Not invited