Food Safety

Food Safety

To enjoy fresh food at its best, it's important to be mindful of food safety. This section provides some quick and easy tips on how to buy, store, prepare and cook fresh food to ensure it stays safe, healthy and delicious!

Woolworths Quality Assured

As part of Woolworths' fresh food promise, all our growers and suppliers of fresh food are certified through the Woolworths Quality Assurance program. The Woolworths Quality Assured logo means the produce you are buying is fresh, safe, and of high quality. 

All Select products are put under the microscope before making their way into your trolley. It’s how we guarantee the highest quality products. And if you’re not 100% satisfied, we’ll refund your money. It’s all part of our Money Back Guarantee.

• Our suppliers’ facilities must pass a stringent Woolworths Quality Assurance Audit.

• All ingredients are approved by nutritionists, food technologists and adhere to Australian and New Zealand regulations and standards

• To ensure best practice, our suppliers must pass an Ethical Audit .

• All products must be approved in our Sensory Kitchen, nothing goes on our shelves before passing consumer sampling.

• The products go through stringent chemical and microbiological testing at the WQA lab, an on-site NATA certified laboratory. 

• Select products contain no artificial colours and are working towards using  sustainable Palm Oil (where  necessary). 

• All audits and testing of Select products are conducted annually to ensure our food maintains its high quality.

That’s why we say, “If it’s not selected by you, it’s not selected by us.”

Hints and Tips



• To enjoy fresh foods at their best, ensure heavy grocery items are packed separately to avoid bruising or splitting. Damaged skin allow the air to penetrate and encourage growth of micro organisms.

• For items that won't be eaten immediately, always check the "use by" date. This is particularly important for dairy products with a short shelf-life - such as cottage cheese, cream cheese, yoghurt, and sour cream. Take a look at the understanding product labels for more information on other useful terms used on food labels.

• For freshness and flavour, fish and seafood should be eaten within 24 hours after purchase. Fish can be frozen for eating at a later time. Chicken can also be frozen, but will keep for up to two to three days in the fridge. To ensure meat or seafood retains its flavour and texture, always thaw before cooking.

• Always wash fresh fruit and vegetables before eating or using them in cooking. Avoid soapy water or detergents as they may leave residue on your food. For thick or rough-skinned vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, try using a small scrubbing brush to remove surface dirt.

• For maximum flavour and texture, kidney beans and soybeans should be soaked overnight before cooking. Always cover the container to protect the contents, and cook the beans in fresh water, discarding any residue left by the soaking process.

• If a recipe calls for milk to be added over heat, be sure to add it slowly and over a low temperature so as to prevent it from curdling. This is particularly the case when combining milk with acidic substances such as tomato, vinegar or citrus. • Thaw meat in the fridge, or in cold water. Bacteria can rapidly multiply at room temperature, so it's important to keep your meat cool. Marinating meat should also always be covered and kept in the fridge.

• If defrosting meat in the microwave, ensure the food is cooked immediately. Some areas may have started to cook - providing a mild temperature in which bacteria could develop.

• Always discard any marinate used on fresh meat - as it will contain raw juices that could harbour bacteria. For the same reason, don't place cooked meat back into the pan or tub in which it was previously marinating.

• Be mindful of how you use kitchen towels - particularly those you use to handle pots and pans or wipe down kitchen surfaces.

• When cleaning countertops, consider using paper towels which can be easily discarded. Regularly machine-wash your tea-towels and oven-mitts in hot water. It's also important not to dry your hands with a towel you just used to clean up raw meat, poultry, or seafood juices.

• Wash your hands, cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.

• Replace excessively worn cutting boards (including plastic, non-porous acrylic, and wooden boards). Bacteria can grow in the hard-to-clean grooves and cracks.



• To avoid possible contamination, always ensure your fresh fruit and vegetables are stored separately to fresh meat or seafood.

• To keep your nuts and legumes fresh, store them in cool, dry conditions, in airtight containers away from the light. Due to their fat content, nuts also benefit from storage in the fridge or freezer to prevent the onset of rancidity.

• Keep grain and grain products in cool, dry storage containers to restrict moisture - which can lead to bacteria and mould.

• Milk absorbs flavours very easily so be careful to keep your milk container tightly sealed or covered



• Don't put cooked meat on an unwashed plate or platter that has held raw meat.

• Tips to tell if your seafood is safely cooked:


1. For fish, slip the point of a sharp knife into the flesh and pull it aside. The edges should be opaque and the centre slightly translucent with flakes beginning to separate. Let the fish stand for three to four minutes before serving so it finishes cooking. 
2. For prawns, lobster and scallops, check their colour. Prawns and lobster turn red and the flesh turns a pearly opaque colour. Scallops turn milky white or become opaque and firm.
3. For mussels and clams, watch for the point at which their shells open. Boil them for three to five minutes after this point. Discard any that stay closed.


Food Safety for Vulnerable Groups

Due to weak or under-developed immune systems, pregnant women, elderly people and young children can be more vulnerable to infections caused by bacteria in certain foods. If you are in one of these groups, take extra care to avoid the following:

• Listeria. This is a type of bacteria found within some foods that can hinder a healthy pregnancy. Pregnant women should avoid foods such as sliced deli meats, raw oysters, smoked salmon and soft cheese such as ricotta and brie which can contain Listeria.

• Salmonella and E.coli. These are types of bacteria that can cause serious infections. They can be found in many raw foods and unpasteurised milk. This bacteria is destroyed by cooking, so it's important that raw and unpasteurised products are cooked thoroughly.


For further information, visit:

NSW Food Authority: Food Safety Tips

NSW Food Authority: Problems with food

NSW Food Authority: Food Labels

*Links to non-Woolworths websites have been provided for information purposes only. Woolworths is not responsible for the content on those websites.

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