Skip to main content Skip to navigation

High and low risk foods

High-risk foods

High-risk foods can be defines as “any ready-to-eat food that will support the growth of pathogenic bacteria easily and does not require any further heat treatment or cooking”.

These types of foods are more likely to be implicated as vehicles of food poisoning organisms consumed in food poisoning incidents. Such foods are usually high in protein, require strict temperature control and protection from contamination. Examples include:

  • cooked meat and poultry such as:
    • beef, pork, ham, lamb, chicken, turkey, duck
  • cooked meat products such as:
    • meat pies & pasties, pate, meat stock & gravy, cook-chill meals
  • dairy produce such as:
    • milk, cream, artificial cream, custards, products containing unpasteurised milk, ripened soft & moulded cheeses
  • egg products such as:
    • cooked eggs, quiche and products containing uncooked or lightly cooked eggs, for example; mayonnaise, mousse, home-made ice cream
  • shellfish and other sea-foods such as:
    • mussels, cockles, cooked prawns, raw oysters
  • Farinaceous dishes including:
    • cooked rice, pasta, couscous

Low-risk foods

Low-risk foods are ambient-stable such as; bread, biscuits, cereals, crisps and cakes (not cream cakes). Such foods are unlikely to be implicated in food poisoning. Examples include:

  • foods that have been preserved, for example:
    • smoked or salted fish
  • dry goods, those that contain minimal amounts of moisture, such as:
    • bread, flour, biscuits
  • acidic foods, for example:
    • pickled foods, vinegar, fruit
  • fermented products such as:
    • salami, pepperoni
  • foods with high sugar/fat content for example:
    • jam & chocolate
  • unopened tinned food

Other important information

  • Keep “raw” and “cooked” food separate
  • Clean and disinfect equipment and surfaces after preparing “raw” food.
  • Do not leave food at room temperature for more than 1 hour
  • Do not refreeze food if it been has defrosted.