Are You Making These 5 Common Food Safety Mistakes?

20Jul

Experts from the RSPH have recently revealed some of the most common mistakes that the general public make when preparing food.

Most of us know that practicing good hygiene is key when it comes to food safety and undercooking food or using contaminated equipment and surfaces can contribute to catching an avoidable foodborne illness.

In addition, one of the most important ways of breaking the chain of infection in food preparation areas is by making sure that you wash your hands regularly, particularly after handling raw meat and poultry.

As well as these simple points, the 5 most common hygiene mistakes made by the public found by the RSPH were:

You can eat it if it looks and smells alright

Most of us will take a sniff of food before deciding whether it’s safe to eat, even if it’s after the use-by date.  Many harmful bacteria in food can cause severe illnesses at very low numbers which can’t be detected by smell, taste or appearance.

Only using one pair of tongs for a BBQ

Research often shows that food poisoning cases spike in the summer, usually attributed to more of us having BBQs in the sunny weather.  Cross-contamination still takes place at the grill so make sure you use different utensils for raw meat, cooked meat and salads.

Washing raw chicken

Around 60% of supermarket chicken is contaminated with Campylobacter, which is the most common food poisoning cause in the UK.  Cooking thoroughly will kill the bacteria but it’s important to not wash your chicken before cooking as this can spread Campylobacter to other surfaces around the kitchen.

Having pets in the kitchen

There’s a wave of evidence that suggests having a pet in the home can boost our immune systems but allowing them to walk on work surfaces can spread harmful bacteria so the RSPH advises they should be kept out of the kitchen entirely.

Not keeping raw and cooked food separate

Raw meat and ready to eat or cooked products should be kept separate at all times to ensure that bacteria does not spread between food stuffs.  This becomes even more important with raw chicken packaging as Campylobacter has been shown to be present on the outside packaging of around 6% of raw supermarket chickens.

Read top tips from Biomaster on BBQ and kitchen hygiene to make sure you reduce your risk of catching a foodborne illness