Ignorance of basic rules of hygiene poisoning us
FOOD poisoning is on the rise with an increase in food poisoning cases in the Sunshine Coast and Gympie region in the past year.
Queensland Health has issued a warning to residents after alarming statistics have revealed only 1% of people know eggs should never be washed before cooking and only 21% of people know washing uncooked chicken is a health risk.
Health figures showed about 711 people have presented with food poisoning so far this year within the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, which includes Gympie.
This was 107 more cases than the previous year, when 604 cases were recorded in the same period.
These figures were based on the number of cases of campylobacter - the most common cause of food poisoning in Australia.
Queensland Health protection executive director Sophie Dwyer said the research showed 75% of people thought they understood safe food practices.
But she said people overestimated their knowledge of basic food hygiene and were suffering because of it.
"They're telling us that it's common sense - but when questioned, only 1% of the 1563 people surveyed knew that eggs should never be washed before cooking," Ms Dwyer said.
"That's because washing them makes it easier for any bacteria to get inside the egg from the shell."
She also said one in five people admitted to washing chicken before cooking it.
"That's alarming because washing raw chicken can spread campylobacter via splashing water."
Ms Dwyer said Christmas was a risky time for food poisoning because of the increase in eating leftovers.
She said it was not recommended to consume leftovers after two days.
"But a big risk remains in people's homes this Christmas - and that's because many people are way more clueless than they think.
"Let's be frank - nobody wants to spend the silly season on the loo because they didn't use their common sense."