Food Safety in the Home
We all expect our shops to sell food that is safe, but how can we be sure that the food we purchase, cook and serve at home is equally safe? These simple steps will help.
When buying food
- Always check use by and best before dates
- Do not accept damaged packets
- Try to buy chilled or frozen foods last, and pack them all together, preferably in a cool bag
- Make sure that raw meat is completely wrapped and kept apart from ready to eat foods
- Take chilled food straight home if possible, or use an insulated bag
- Food safety tips when at home
Precautions at home
Careless handling can lead to germs or bacteria growing on your food, which in turn can cause food poisoning. One bacteria can multiply into one million in a matter of hours if food is left out of temperature control. These simple steps will help:
- Keep your fridge between 0 and 5 degrees centigrade, defrost it regularly and don't overload it as this will impair its efficiency
- Make sure that perishable foods are kept chilled
- Store raw meat and defrost food at the bottom of your fridge to prevent drips falling onto other food
- Wash hands thoroughly before preparing food, after handling raw meat, visiting the toilet, touching pets or any other activity which could lead to your hands being contaminated
- Prepare and store raw and cooked foods separately. Clean utensils and equipment thoroughly using hot water and detergent before preparing different foods
- Make sure meat and poultry has been fully thawed before cooking
- Cook food thoroughly. Follow instructions on packets and make sure food is piping hot all the way through
- Make sure the centre of meat is well cooked and that the juices run clear
- Do not leave food standing around in a warm room before eating
- Keep dish cloths clean and change hand towels and tea towels regularly
- Keep your kitchen clean and keep pets away from food dishes and worktops.
Take extra care if young children, pregnant women, anyone who is ill or elderly people are eating with you, as they can be particularly vulnerable to food poisoning bacteria.