Top Ten Tips to Help You Avoid Food Poisoning
The UK has more than 500,000 reported cases of people experiencing food poisoning a year, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you’ll know how unpleasant it can be, even for a fit and healthy person. Food poisoning can sometimes cause serious illness and even death.
Most people assume that food poisoning comes from restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets, but according to the FSA, you’re just as likely to get ill from food prepared at home.
Averting Food Poisoning is a matter of following some basic rules; follow these top ten safety tips and really reduce the chances of food poisoning.
Cook Food Thoroughly
Cook food thoroughly and check that it’s steaming hot all the way through. Make sure poultry, pork, burgers, sausages and kebabs are cooked until steaming hot, with no pink meat inside. Don’t wash raw meat including chicken and turkey before cooking, as this risks spreading bacteria around your kitchen.Wherever possible use a professional thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food you have cooked.
Freezing raw chicken reduces levels of Campylobacter but does not eliminate it completely. The safest way to kill all traces of Campylobacter is by cooking chicken thoroughly.
Cool Leftovers Quickly
If you have cooked food that you’re not going to eat straight away, cool it as quickly as possible (within 90 minutes) and store it in the fridge or freezer. Use any leftovers from the fridge within two days.
Keep Raw Meat Separate
It’s especially important to keep raw meat away from ready-to-eat foods, such as salad, fruit and bread. This is because these foods won’t be cooked before you eat them, so any bacteria that gets on to the foods won’t be killed.
Keep Your Worktops Clean
Wash worktops before and after preparing food, particularly after they’ve been touched by raw meat, including poultry, raw eggs, fish and vegetables. You don’t need to use antibacterial sprays; hot, soapy water is fine.
Refrigerate or Freeze Perishable Foods Promptly and Keep Your Fridge Below 5C
Keep your fridge temperature below 5C. By keeping food cold, you stop food poisoning bugs growing. Make sure you chill or freeze these foods within two hours of purchasing or preparing them.
Respect 'Use-by' Dates
You will see “use by” dates on food that goes off quickly, such as smoked fish, meat products and ready-prepared salads. Don’t use any food or drink after the end of the “use by” date on the label, even if it looks and smells fine. This is because using it after this date could put your health at risk.
Use Separate Chopping Boards
Use separate chopping boards for raw food and ready-to-eat food. Raw foods can contain harmful bacteria that spreads very easily to anything they touch, including other foods, worktops, chopping boards and knives.
Wash dishcloths and tea towels regularly and let them dry before you use them again. Dirty, damp cloths are the perfect place for germs to breed.
Wash Your Hands Thoroughly
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water, and dry them before handling food, after handling raw foods – including meat, fish, eggs and vegetables – and after touching the bin, going to the toilet, blowing your nose, or touching animals, including pets.
When In Doubt, Throw It Out
If you are unsure about any food – if it looks discoloured, if it smells funny, if it leaves you unsure about anything relating to the food you are preparing, bin it!
Food poisoning can be fatal.