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Food safety tips: Making Mother’s Day special and not fatal for Gran

Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and families are trying to think of the best way to show Mum how much they love and appreciate her. Do they buy a gift or treat her to a delicious meal out or even better prepare a Mother’s Day lunch with all the family?

However, if Mum or Grandma is elderly or immune compromised, it is important to keep food safety in mind at home and in the restaurant. Foodborne illness can lead to a serious infection. Use these tips to make sure your Mother’s Day celebrations are full of fun, laughter, and love and not food poisoning.

Food safety tips: Making Mother’s Day special and not fatal for Gran

Preparing a meal at home this Mother’s day

It is very important to be careful when you handle and prepare food.

Preparing a meal at home this Mother’s day for the elderly - food safety tips


Four steps for effective hand-washing

  1. Use soap to work up a lather.

  2. Wash palms, fingers, thumbs, nails and wrists. (Use a clean nail brush if necessary.)

  3. Rinse off soap by washing hands under running warm water for at least 20 seconds.

  4. Dry with paper towel or air dryer. Never wipe wet hands on clothes/uniform, apron or tea towel to dry them.

Use the 20 / 20 rule - wash for 20 seconds, then dry for 20 second. Before and after you handle food and after you use the toilet, change nappies, or handle pets. Wash and sanitise cutting boards and countertops after preparing raw meat or poultry and before preparing other foods that will not be cooked.


Avoid cross-contamination by separating raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods. Use separate cutting boards, utensils, and plates for raw foods and ready-to-eat foods.


To ensure that foods are cooked safely, always measure their internal temperature using a food thermometer and making sure it reaches 75°C or above


Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods as soon as possible. Never thaw food at room temperature, such as on the counter. Instead, thaw food in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf to avoid dripping and cross contamination or in the microwave on the defrost setting.

Dining Out for Mother’s Day

Even though all the food preparation and cleaning up is taken care of when dining out, keep food safety in mind while you read the menu.

Dining Out for Mother’s Day - food safety tips for the elderly

Higher Risk foods for Gran

  • Soft cheese made from unpasteurized (raw) milk

  • Refrigerated smoked seafood and raw or undercooked seafood or fish

  • Salads, wraps, or sandwiches containing raw sprouts

  • Soft-boiled or “over-easy” eggs (yolks are not fully cooked)

  • Sandwiches with cold deli or luncheon meat

Lower Risk foods for Gran

  • Hard or processed cheeses; soft cheeses only if they are made from pasteurized milk

  • Fully cooked fish or seafood

  • Salads, wraps, and sandwiches containing fully cooked sprouts

  • Fully cooked eggs with firm yolk and whites

  • Grilled sandwiches—meat is heated until steaming

Don’t hesitate to ask your server how the food is prepared and cooked and whether the food contains any uncooked or raw ingredients. It’s better to be safe if you’re unsure.

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