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Food Safety for the Melbourne Cup

In Australia, one of our favourite days to indulge our love of sport is to celebrate the Melbourne Cup.

It’s a day where people all over Australia dress up and go out to a celebration of the big race. Some of us will celebrate 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, make sure you plan well ahead for food purchases and food preparation.

Celebrations, lots of people, warm weather, food left out on the table and attention on other things, can all add up to a lapse in food safety with disastrous effects.

I’m hosting a Melbourne Cup event!

A few tips from us will help you put on an impressive Melbourne Cup spread without stress and nasty after effects for your guests.

If you are catering for guests with food or drink:

  • Don’t leave things to the last minute as the shops will be busy. To save on waste, work out how much food you are going to need per person, order it and arrange a time to pick up cold meats and chicken just before you need it.
  • It will probably be warm weather, and your fridge might be short on space since you’re chilling both food and drinks. 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.
  • Before your event, clean out your fridge to ensure it’s not too packed and air can circulate.
  • To make 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 wash 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.
  • When it comes to leftovers, unless you are sure about time/temperature history, it’s best to them throw out.
  • Have bin bags ready and dispose of food waste as soon as possible.
  • 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 healthy for them

I’m attending a Melbourne Cup event!

If you are going to an event that is catered for there are some simple tips to keep in mind too:

  • Before you eat, check 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 freshly prepared food if the food has been sitting out for a while.
  • Ensure food being served is kept below 5⁰C or above 60⁰C
  • Avoid eating raw foods such as salad dressings and sauces made with raw eggs e.g. mayonnaise, hollandaise and aioli.
  • Avoid uncooked foods containing raw eggs e.g. cookie dough, mousse, cheesecake, tiramisu.
  • Check sauces or salad dressings are pasteurised and only consume freshly prepared food.
We hope you enjoy whatever Melbourne Cup celebration you might be attending or holding!