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Preparing Food Safely

It is extremely important to prepare food safely to help prevent the spread and growth of harmful bacteria. This can be achieved by taking some simple steps to protect yourself and family.

Hand Washing

Hands can easily be the vehicle that spread bacteria around the kitchen and onto food. For this reason, it is always important to wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water (43ᵒ max) at each of the following times:

1. Before starting to prepare food
2. After touching raw food such as meat, poultry and vegetables
3. After going to the toilet
4. After touching a bin
5. After touching another person (e.g. hand shaking)
6. After eating, drinking or smoking
7. After coughing or sneezing
8. After handling money

Don't forget to dry your hands thoroughly as well, because if they are wet they will spread bacteria more easily.

Wearing Gloves

Correct hand washing is enormously important even when using gloves and should be implemented before putting gloves on, between glove changes and after gloves have been removed. Frequent changing of gloves between tasks is essential.

Keep work surfaces clean

Before preparing food it is vital that work surfaces, kitchen utensils, and chopping boards have been washed properly. Don’t forget to change dishcloths and tea towels regularly. These items may appear clean, but they’re the ideal place for bacteria to grow. Colour coded boards, cloths, dish cloths and mops is advised.

Separate raw food (meat/fish and vegetables) from ready to eat food

Raw food items such as fish, meat and vegetables can contain bacteria that is harmful. Bacteria can be spread easily to anything that is touched by any of these food items. This includes other foods, worktops, chopping boards and knives.

Cooked Foods should always be stored separately from non-cooked foods as a measure of good practice, to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.

To help prevent the spreading of bacteria, remember these things:

  • Never allow raw food to touch other food
  • Ready to eat food should never be prepared using a chopping board or knife that has been used to prepare
    raw food, unless they have been washed thoroughly
  • Ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling/touch raw food (meat, fish,
    vegetables) and before you touch anything else
  • Ensure that raw meat or fish is always covered and stored on the bottom shelf of the fridge where they
    cannot touch or drip onto other foods
  • Do not wash raw meat prior to cooking. Washing is not a successful method for removing bacteria- cooking
    food thoroughly is the only way of assuring that it is free from harmful bacteria 
  • Washing meat can lead to bacteria being splashed onto worktops and utensils
  • Vegetables should be washed, peeled or cooked prior to eating them unless the packaging states that  they are ready to eat

Fridge Hygiene

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Poisoning Choking