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Food safety myths continued: True or false?

In today’s post, we’re debunking seven more food safety myths.

1. Food poisoning isn’t a big deal


First up, what is food poisoning? It occurs when bacteria, viruses or parasites contaminate food. The contamination, in turn, may cause you to become ill.

While for most of the population this will be an unpleasant few days, for some it may be more serious. People with a suppressed immune system, auto-immune disease, women who are pregnant, children and the elderly are all at higher risk of complications from food poisoning.

If you contract food poisoning, it is essential, especially if you are in one of these at-risk categories, that you remain hydrated. After several days with food poisoning, you may become dehydrated and you should visit your health professional.

2. It’s fine to thaw meat on the counter

When you defrost meat, seafood and poultry, you are at risk of parts of the meat coming into the temperature danger zone (4-60 °C) even while the centre remains frozen. It’s safer to defrost in the fridge to avoid the danger zone.
As a bonus, you can keep thawed poultry, fish and mince for an additional 1 to 2 days and thawed beef, lamb and pork for an extra 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

3. Eggs covered in feathers/chook poo means they’re super fresh and great to eat

While the eggs may be fresh, dirty eggs can lead to food poisoning. Harmful bacteria like salmonella can be found on eggs and is more likely to be apparent if the shell is dirty with grime, chicken poo or feathers.
Remember egg shells become more porous when wet, so washing your eggs can lead to bacteria making its way inside the egg!

4. Hot leftovers should be left out to cool before refrigerating

Did you know food bacteria can double every 30 minutes? This can occur when food is left in the temperature danger zone (4-60 °C). Rather than risk food poisoning, use your fridge for what it’s intended for – cooling food down! Getting your leftovers straight in the fridge will ruin the bacteria’s chances of multiplying. Divide the leftovers into a couple of containers to help it cool quicker in the fridge.

5. It’s fine to marinate chicken on the counter

As with the last myth, leaving chicken (or other meat/food) on the counter allows bacteria to multiply exceptionally rapidly. Instead always marinate in the fridge, where your chicken, meat, seafood or other food can safely remain for hours soaking up all those delicious flavours.

6. Mouldy food is okay to eat, as long as I cut off the mouldy bit

When it comes to mould, it’s better to be safe than sorry as actively growing mould can release toxins into food.
Be especially wary of, and throw these foods straight in the bin if you notice mould:
  • Yoghurt, sour cream and creme fraiche
  • Soft cheese
  • Bread and other baked goods
  • Soft fruits and veggies
  • Jam and marmalade
  • Peanut butter, nuts and legumes

7. Freezing food kills bacteria


While freezing food will render bacteria inactive, it won’t kill it. This means if your food entered the freezer contaminated, it would come out contaminated when thawed. Only cooking to the recommended high temperature is guaranteed to kill bacteria.