Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

'Tis the season to get food poisoning

Research reveals food poisoning risk for the festive season, especially from raw egg dishes.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The Food Safety Information Council has released research results showing the increased risk of food poisoning from dishes that contain raw eggs. This could be a greater risk at Christmas as the weather hots up and we cater for several generations, including the very young and elderly.

Why is Christmas a greater time of risk from food poisoning?

  1. Christmas is the time of year we can be most at risk of food poisoning.
  2. With every increased degree of summer temperature the rate of food poisoning increases.
  3. The risk also increases when consumers cater for larger numbers of people using their domestic kitchen equipment, especially putting a strain on fridges.
  4. Consumers are also preparing food for several generations within a family including people who are at greater risk if they get food poisoning such as small children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

How much food poisoning occurs in Australia each year?

  1. Food poisoning results, on average, in 5.4 million cases a year (including 120 deaths), 1.2 million visits to doctors, 300,000 prescriptions for antibiotics, and 2.1 million days of lost work each year.
  2. The estimated annual cost of food poisoning in Australia is $1.25 billion. A large majority of these cases of foodborne illness are single, sporadic...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Food Safety Information Council (