Fill up the chilly bin, fire up the barbie - but don't chunder in the loo this summer.
With more than 500 people a day on average getting food poisoning and that number rising over the summer months, New Zealand Food Safety is warning Kiwis to play it safe when tucking into the festive food.
New Zealand Food Safety deputy director general Vince Arbuckle said food poisoning was a serious threat as 1400 of the 200,000 Kiwis who get sick from poorly prepared food each year end up in hospital.
The most common symptoms from eating dodgy food are vomiting and diarrhoea.
Those hit the hardest from foodborne illnesses are often people with underlying health conditions, older people or young children and this could be really dangerous for them.
Arbuckle said among the most common mistakes people made when preparing food was thinking they had to wash raw chicken and this caused more harm than good as it actually sent bacteria flying around the kitchen.
"There's a bacterial risk with chicken and the best thing to do is have its own board ... use a separate knife or wash between use and wash your hands after you've handled those sorts of raw meats."
Cooks also forgot to wash their hands after touching raw meat particularly, and also needed to make sure it was cooked thoroughly to 75C whether that be on the barbecue or in the oven.
"Don't feel rushed just because everyone wants lunch as you could end up paying for that later on," Arbuckle warned.
Leftovers needed be covered and put in the fridge as soon as possible to stop any bacteria build-up caused by leaving it in the sun. They should also be served piping hot.
With summer well and truly underway, people popping to the shops for last-minute errands should leave getting the groceries to last and use ice packs, chilly bins or thermal bags to keep items such as milk, raw meat and seafood cold.
Vegetables also needed to be washed thoroughly and any dirt scrubbed off.
Arbuckle said foodborne illnesses were a bigger threat over summer because temperatures were warmer and this was the environment bacteria thrived in.
"People are eating outside in larger groups and the risk of bacteria multiplying on your food, people handling a lot more meat than they would normally be doing - barbecues and things - so the risk is higher in the summer."
Cooking on a barbecue in itself was fine - it was just making sure the meat cooked on it such as chicken and mince patties were thoroughly cooked with the juices running clear, he said.
Food hygiene tips:
• If you're out running errands leave the groceries for last and use ice packs, chilly bins or thermal bags to keep items such as milk, raw meat and seafood cold.
• Make sure you rinse all your vegetables to wash off any grit or dirt.
• Never rinse or wash chickens as that will splatter bacteria all over your kitchen surfaces.
• Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly every time after handling raw eggs, raw chicken, raw meat and seafood.
• Cook meat thoroughly on the barbecue, especially chicken and minced meat such as sausages.
• Use separate equipment and utensils when handling raw and cooked food or wash thoroughly between use.
• Use a meat thermometer if you can. If not, makes sure the raw mince and chicken is cooked all the way through until the juices run clear.
• Don't keep food out longer than two hours. If the weather is warm, store and chill immediately after everyone's eaten.
• Make sure food outside is covered so no pests can get into it.
• Reheat leftovers until steaming hot, and eat them within two days.