Food Safety Top Tips - How to Prepare and Cook Food Safely
Studies have shown that the kitchen contains the most germs in the home.
One study even found that the kitchen sink can usually contains 100,000 times more germs than the bathroom. Germs such as E. Coli and salmonella enter kitchens through our hands, raw food and also through pets.
If food isn't prepared, cooked and stored in the correct manner, people can easily become ill with food poisoning, colds, flu and other conditions.
Washing your Hands
- Dirty hands are one of the main ways germs are spread in the kitchen, so it's important to wash them thoroughly before cooking, after touching the bin, going to the toilet, and after touching raw food.
- Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria which are easily spread to anything it touches. Including other foods, worktops, tables, chopping boards and knives.
Washing Fruit and Veg
- Wash fruit and vegetables under cold running water before you eat them. This helps to remove visible dirt and germs that may be on the surface.
- Peeling or cooking fruit and vegetables will also help to remove germs.
- Do not use washing-up liquid or household cleaning products, they are not be safe for human consumption and you may accidentally poison people by leaving some of the product on the food.
- Find out more about washing fruit and veg at our dedicated article here.
- Cooking food at the correct temperature will ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed. Check that food is piping hot throughout before you eat it. Take a look at our free Safe Cooking Temperatures chart here.
- When cooking a whole chicken. pierce the thickest part of the leg in order to check that there is no pink meat and that the juices run clear.
- Pork joints and rolled joints should not be eaten pink or rare. To check if these are ready to eat, put a skewer into the centre of the meat to check that there is no pink meat and the juices run clear.
- It is safe to serve steak and other whole cuts of beef and lamb rare as long as they have been properly sealed, which will kill any bacteria on the meat's surface.
- If you've cooking food that isn't going to eaten immediately, cool it at room temperature and store it in the fridge. Do not put hot food in the fridge as it doesn't cool evenly, which can cause food poisoning. Find out more about storing leftovers safely.
- Wash all worktops and chopping boards before and after cooking, they are often the main source of cross-contamination.
- Damp sponges and kitchen cloths are the perfect place for bacteria to spread and breed. Studies have shown kitchen sponges can contain the highest number of germs in the home. Make sure you wash and replace kitchen cloths and tea towels often.