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Best-before date A ‘best-before’ date is an indication of quality rather than a food safety standard. A product will remain fresh and of good quality right up to the ‘best-before’ date (and sometimes beyond) if it is properly stored. The potential for food spoilage increases beyond the best-before date. Reducing spoilage •Limit the time that food is kept at temperatures between 5 °C and 60 °C. •Don’t buy food that is near the end of its shelf life or close to the use-by or best-before date. •Do not allow dried foods to absorb moisture. •Rotate your stock so you use older stock first. Hot tip While some food spoilage is obvious (you can see mould or mildew growth), other foods may just lose quality over time and be unfit for human consumption.
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SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety 2016 Edition 17 How do food poisoning bacteria affect me? There are a variety of symptoms commonly associated with pathogenic bacteria. Depending on the type of bacteria, symptoms can start appearing in as little as 6 hours or take as long as 90 days after they come into contact with the digestive system Click on the bacteria to see how it can affect you and your customers. stomach cramps nausea / vomiting headaches cramps fever diarrhoea. What pathogenic bacteria are responsible? Most people who have food poisoning-like symptoms tell you they have ‘caught a bug’ or have ‘gastro’. Gastro (or gastroenteritis) is a general term used for symptoms such as stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is not a type of bacteria. Click on the poisoning bacteria to find out more. Salmonella Sources: mainly found in raw meats, poultry and dairy products including mayonnaise, milk and custards. Contamination: usually from poor food handling that allows contaminated food to come into contact with safe food (such as raw and cooked foods), or because foods are left in the temperature danger zone for too long. Campylobacter This is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness in Australia. It is often what overseas travellers suffer from when eating and drinking the local cuisine. Sources: found in the gut of animals, especially birds. Contamination: usually from eating undercooked poultry, sausages and mince, unpasteurised milk, or cross-contamination from raw to cooked foods. Listeria monocytogenes While rare, these bacteria can seriously affect pregnant women, young children and the elderly. Sources: most raw foods have these bacteria in low levels. Contamination: it is easily killed by heat, but raw foods can reinfect cooked foods.