Inadequate cooking is a common cause of food poisoning. Most foods, especially meat, poultry and eggs, should be cooked thoroughly to kill most food poisoning bacteria.
In general, food should be cooked to a temperature of at least 60°C or hotter. Some people are more at risk of food poisoning than others. Vulnerable groups include pregnant women, young children, the elderly and anyone with an illness. Special care should be taken when preparing, cooking, serving and storing food for these groups.
Microwaves are a quick and convenient way to cook food. However, if they are not used correctly, they can cook food unevenly. This may leave food partially cooked or not reaching a temperature of 60°C. When you cook food in the microwave:
- Cut food into evenly sized pieces if possible, or put larger or thicker items towards the outside edge of the dish.
- Cover the food with a microwave safe lid or microwave plastic wrap. This will trap the steam and promote more even cooking.
- Rotate and stir food during cooking.
- Food should steam throughout, not just on the edges. Take care when reheating food in a microwave oven.
- Wait until the standing time is over before you check that the cooking is complete. Food continues to cook even after the microwave is turned off.