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It is important that food is stored, handled and cooked properly to avoid food poisoning at home.
The following food safety information will help to prevent food poisoning in the home:
You can prevent the spread of harmful bacteria through good personal hygiene and keeping work surfaces and utensils clean.
Wash your hands regularly, including palms and backs of hands, especially:
If part-frozen food is placed in a conventional oven, the outside will begin to over-cook and burn before the centre is properly done. To avoid this, make sure food is properly defrosted, either by using a microwave or by defrosting the food overnight in a refrigerator.
Bacteria require food, water, the right temperature and time in which to multiply. Preparing food too early gives any bacteria which may be present in the food at very low, safe numbers a chance to multiply to levels where they can cause illness. Leave preparation as late as you can to prevent this.
Raw meat can contain large number of bacteria, enough to cause illness if consumed. Raw vegetables like carrots and potatoes which have come out of the ground so can also be contaminated. Wash or peel fruit and vegetables before eating them, and make sure meat and fish are properly cooked throughout to avoid causing illness.
Cross Contamination is the transfer of bacteria from foods (usually raw) to other foods.
Bacteria can be transferred directly when one food touches (or drips onto) another or indirectly from:
Proper cooking kills food poisoning bacteria such as:
It is important to cook food properly, especially meat. Make sure food is cooked right through and is piping hot in the middle.
Reaching a core temperature of at least 75°C will ensure enough bacteria are killed to make food, particularly raw meats, safe to eat. A lower temperature can be used, but needs to be held for a longer time to make sure enough heat energy goes into the food to kill the bacterial cells. If you don’t have a thermometer then ensure that the meat is no longer pink, the juices run clear and it is steaming hot throughout.
Cooked foods that need to be chilled should be cooled as quickly as possible, preferably within an hour. Avoid putting them in the fridge until they are cool. To cool hot food quickly, place it in the coolest place you can find, often not the kitchen. Another way is to put the food in a clean, sealable container, and put it under a running cold water tap or in a basin of cold water. Where practical, reduce cooling times by dividing foods into smaller amounts.
When food is reheated always ensure that food is heated above 75°C. Do not reheat it more than once.
Wash all work surfaces and chopping boards before and after cooking, as they can be a source of cross-contamination. Use hot soapy water and then a suitable antibacterial spray.
The average chopping board has more faecal bacteria on it than the average toilet seat.
Damp sponges and cloths are the perfect place for bacteria to breed. Studies have shown the kitchen sponge to have the highest number of germs in the home. Wash and replace kitchen cloths, sponges and tea towels frequently
Are you planning to cater from home for family, friends, perhaps and wedding or birthday, or for a group meeting?
If so, you will need to take extra care if any young children, pregnant women, older people or anyone who is ill will be coming to the function.
Think about the following:
People can carry food poisoning bacteria and not be ill. Streptococci are carried by some people in their throats and nose, and staphylococcus bacteria can be found on our skin and under our nails. Careful hand-washing (about 20 seconds under warm running water with plenty of soap, followed by thorough drying on a clean towel) can help prevent bacteria spreading onto other foods or food contact surfaces like chopping boards and utensils.
If you require help with something in this section, please contact us.