Preparing Safe Food
- Regular hand washing is essential. Hands should be washed before handling food and after touching raw food, pets, bins, and using the toilet.
- Hand washing should be done with warm soapy water, ensuring all parts of the hands are cleaned, and then thoroughly dried.
- Surfaces in a food preparation area should be kept clean at all times. Regular cleaning can reduce the growth and spread of harmful bacteria.
- Separate chopping boards should be used for different food products to avoid cross-contamination. For example, raw meat and vegetables should never be cut on the same board.
- Knives and other utensils should also be washed between uses to prevent cross-contamination.
- Raw and cooked foods should be stored separately in the fridge. Raw foods at the bottom to avoid juices dripping onto other items.
- Using separate plates for raw and cooked food can avoid cross-contamination. After handling raw food, all utensils and dishes must be washed.
- Perishable foods like meat and dairy should be stored at the right temperature. They should be kept in the fridge until needed and then cooked or served promptly.
- Food should be heated to the correct temperature to kill any harmful bacteria. For poultry; a minimum internal temperature of 75°C. For minced meats, sausages and processed meat products (like chicken nuggets); 70°C. For steaks, roasts, fish and shellfish; 63°C.
- Always ensure that food is cooked thoroughly and check the middle is hot.
- “Resting” meat after cooking can kill additional bacteria.
- When leftovers are stored, they should be cooled at room temperature for about 2 hours before being transferred to the fridge. This prevents heat from raising the temperature of the fridge.
- Food should not be left at room temperature for too long, as bacteria multiplies quickly at room temperature. Any food left at room temperature for more than 4 hours should be discarded.
- Avoid reheating food more than once. Each time food is cooled and reheated, there’s more chance of bacteria growing.