Many people think that when we suffer from sickness and diarrhoea it is the result of food poisoning picked up from outside the home. In fact, most food poisoning actually occurs in the home and is a direct result of poor kitchen hygiene, with germs from raw foods (including meat, poultry, eggs, fish and seafood, raw fruit and vegetables) being transferred to kitchen surfaces or other foods whilst preparing meals, or food not being cooked properly.
Avoid food poisoning in the home by following the four Cs of food safety: Cross-Contamination, Cleaning, Cooking and Chilling.
The Four Cs of food hygiene:
One of the biggest causes of food poisoning is cross contamination. This is when harmful germs on one food are accidentally passed to other foods – usually from a person’s hands or kitchen utensils. But these health risks can be easily prevented:
Wash your hands with soap and clean water before touching food and immediately after handling raw food (e.g. meat, eggs), handling bins, touching pets, or going to the toilet. Dettol No Touch Hand Soap is a great way to prevent cross contamination. Just hold out your hands and antibacterial soap is dispensed automatically.
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces immediately after preparing food.
- Ideally, use different colour-coded chopping boards for raw and ready-to-eat foods.
- Cover food or keep it in sealed containers to stop germs getting in.
- Store and prepare raw food away from cooked and ready-to-eat foods.
- Keep any pets or animals away from food preparation and eating areas.
- Decontaminate items in the right way at the right time to remove any harmful germs and stop them spreading to food.
- Make sure all utensils and equipment are spotlessly clean before use.
- Regularly clean and disinfect things that people often touch, such as taps/faucets, cupboard handles and switches.
- Clean all food preparation surfaces with Dettol Hygiene Liquid or wipes immediately after preparing food.
- Use paper towels or disposable cloths if possible and if you reuse cloths, decontaminate them between each task (and don’t use the same cloth elsewhere in the setting).
Cook meat thoroughly to kill the harmful germs that cause food poisoning. To check your meat is cooked, insert a knife into the thickest part – there should be no sign of pink meat and any juices should run clear. When reheating food, make sure it is steaming hot all the way through, and never reheat food more than once.
Keeping foods cool (0–5°C, 32–41°F) or frozen slows the growth of harmful bacteria. Always check the storage instructions and ‘use by’ date on your food’s packaging. If you have any leftovers, cover and store them in your fridge or freezer within two hours of cooking, making sure they have completely cooled first. Separate them into smaller containers to speed up cooling if necessary.