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Washing and food safety go hand in hand

14 April, 2014

With the change of season, NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, has reminded people of the importance of correct hand washing to help reduce the risk of food poisoning and foodborne illness.

Hodgkinson today visited the NSW Food Authority's stand at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, which has made correct hand washing its theme this year.

"More than four million cases of food poisoning are reported in Australia each year and poor personal hygiene has been identified as a common cause," Hodgkinson said.

"Hand washing is the most simple and yet the most effective means of reducing your risk of food poisoning.

"If you start with dirty hands then none of the other measures matter – before you prepare or serve food ensure your hands are clean."
Hodgkinson said one of the NSW Food Authority's golden rules of food safety is to 'keep it clean'.

"At the top of that list is the reminder to wash and dry your hands thoroughly before beginning to prepare or eat any meal – even a snack," Hodgkinson said.

"Good and thorough hand washing removes dirt, leftover food, grease and harmful bacteria and viruses from your hands preventing them from spreading to food, work surfaces and equipment."

Visitors to the NSW Food Authority's Easter Show stand will be guided in correct hand washing techniques using a special gel, and then assess their effectiveness under a UV viewing area.

"This is a fun and interactive way of explaining the science of food safety," Hodgkinson said.

"It is especially important to educate children about the importance of washing their hands, especially prior to handling food.

The NSW Food Authority's stand is located in the 'Food Farm' section of the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and is open daily until April 23.