back to top

We’ve updated our privacy notice and cookie policy. Learn more about cookies, including how to disable them, and find out how we collect your personal data and what we use it for.

10 Myths About Food Safety You Might Have Heard That Aren't True

"It's only touched the floor for five seconds... It's fine." Nope. Nope. Nope.

Posted on

1. The five-second rule is a totally OK rule to live by.


The Myth: That bacteria just waits for five seconds before pouncing on food you've dropped.

Actually: Bacteria doesn't play by your rules. Better to throw out anything you've dropped.

2. You can't refreeze defrosted meats.


The Myth: Once it was defrosts you either have to cook it or throw it out.

Actually: As long as you defrost it in the fridge running at 5°C or below, you're OK to refreeze.

3. You can't serve pork rare.


The Myth: Pork has to be served well done or else you'll get sick.

Australian pork can be safely served rare just like beef or lamb because it doesn't have parasites found in pig meat overseas.

4. Only food that smells funny is off and can make you sick.


The Myth: If something smells OK and still looks good it's OK to eat.

Actually: Bacteria has potential to grow in any food. Especially food that’s been left in the temperature danger zone between 5°C and 60°C.

5. You usually only get food poisoning from meats.


The Myth: You're free from food poisoning if you're vegetarian or only eat salads.

Actually: Many food poisoning outbreaks have actually started from the mishandling of fruit and vege.

6. If you get food poisoning, it's always the last thing you've had.


The Myth: You've eaten dinner, and next thing you're up at 3am sick and blaming dinner.

Some food poisoning can take days or even weeks to happen.

7. Food poisoning will just pass on its own.


The Myth: You can ride out a sore stomach and food poisoning.

Actually: Food poisoning each year results in 31,920 hospitalisations, 86 deaths, and 1 million visits to doctors.

8. The use-by date is just a guide – you can still eat something after it.


The Myth: You can eat something a bit after the use-by date.

Actually: There are two sorts of dates on your foods: a use-by date and a best-before date. Best-before dates are OK to go past a bit.

9. Homemade mayo will keep the same as store-bought mayo.


The Myth: Homemade mayo can keep just as long as store-bought.

Actually: Homemade mayo is one of the biggest causes of food poisoning outbreaks in Australia. Best only to make small batches at a time and keep it in the fridge when you’re not using it. Vinegar helps keep it too.

10. Minces, sausages, and chicken are good to eat once the juices run clear.


The Myth: That you can always tell when food's done once the juices are clear.

Actually: With these types of foods you always want to cook it until it's at least 75°C inside. So keep a thermometer handy at a BBQ.

All facts from the Food Safety Information Council.