Kitchen Hygiene Tips from Biomaster

It’s estimated that there are more than a million cases of food poisoning in the UK each year, with around 20,000 of these instances requiring hospital treatment. 

This number could actually be up to 5 to 10 times higher as only reported cases of food poisoning are able to be added to official government figures.

The bacteria responsible for the most cases of food poisoning in the UK is Campylobacter, which is normally found in chicken, and this is followed by Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli.

The best way of reducing the risk of catching a food poisoning bug is by making sure that you cook food properly and make sure your kitchen is a hygienic place to prepare food.

Read on for 10 tips from Biomaster for practicing good hygiene in the kitchen:

1. Hand washing is key

Your hands can be one of the main transmitters of bacteria around the kitchen so it’s incredibly important to wash them thoroughly with soap and water before and after contact with raw food, after touching bins, going to the toilet or handling pets and dry completely.

2. Preparing food

Make sure to clean and disinfect any work surfaces, chopping boards and utensils before and after cooking your food.  If possible, use a separate chopping board for meat, poultry, fish and vegetables to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

3. Cleaner cloths

Wash or change your dish cloths, tea towels, sponges and even your oven gloves regularly as damp cloths are a breeding ground for bacteria.

4. Wash your fruit & veg

In some cases root vegetables can carry E. coli which can cause food poisoning, so wash your fruit and veg under running water before preparing or eating.  You can also use a dedicated wash like Fit to remove more pesticides and preservatives.

5. Don’t wash your meat

Tempting as it might be, it’s incredibly important not to rinse your meat under the tap.  Doing so can spread bacteria like Campylobacter around the kitchen, which is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK.

6. Best Before / Use By dates

Foods with “use-by” dates can deteriorate quickly leading to potentially dangerous bacteria building up, so it’s best to avoid anything out of date.  On the other hand, even though food past a “best before” date might not taste as good as before, it’s unlikely to cause you harm.

7. Cook to the right temperature

Cooking to the right temperature can kill off most harmful bacteria, so ensure that your food, particularly meat and poultry, is piping hot throughout.  Use a food thermometer, like ETI's Thermapen, if you’re unsure and cook to 75°C in the thickest part of the meat.

8. Keep your fridge chilled

Your refrigerator should be kept between 0°C and 5°C to keep food chilled so make sure that you don’t overload and prevent the cool air from circulating.  If you’re unsure if you appliance is running at the right temperature, use a fridge thermometer.

9. Store leftovers correctly

Make sure that you cool any leftovers quickly, store in a covered container in the fridge and eat within 48 hours.  If you’re unlikely to finish off your leftovers within this time then you can store them in the freezer.

10. Defrost food safely

After your food has been defrosted it should be cooked thoroughly within 24 hours and only reheat once after it has been cooked as this can increase the risk of food poisoning bugs developing.

 

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