Wash those hands
Your hands can easily spread bacteria around the kitchen and onto food that is why it's important to always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water at each of these times:
- before starting to prepare food
- after touching raw meat, including poultry
- after going to the toilet
- after touching the bin
- after touching pets
- after smoking
Don't forget to dry your hands thoroughly; if they are wet they will spread bacteria more easily.
Keep worktops clean
Before preparing food, it’s important to make sure that worktops, kitchen utensils and chopping boards are clean. If they’ve been touched by raw meat, poultry or eggs, you'll need to wash them thoroughly. Dish cloths and tea towels will need to be changed frequently as they may look clean, but they're the perfect place for bacteria to grow.
Separate raw meat and fish from ready-to-eat food
Raw meat and raw fish contain harmful bacteria that can spread very easily to anything they come into contact with, for example; other foods, worktops, chopping boards and knives. Keep raw meat and raw fish away from ready-to-eat food, such as salad, fruit and bread, as these types of food won't be cooked before being eaten, so any bacteria that get onto the food will not be killed.
Do not keep food at room temperature for long periods of time, especially when the weather (or the room) is warm. If you have made some food (such as a sandwich or a cold dish) and you're not going to eat it straight away, keep it in the fridge until you're ready to eat it.
To help stop bacteria from spreading, remember these things:
- Don't let raw meat or fish touch other food.
- Never prepare ready-to-eat food using a chopping board or knife that you have used to prepare raw meat or fish, unless they have been washed thoroughly first.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat or fish and before you touch anything else.
- Always cover raw meat or fish and store them on the bottom shelf of the fridge where they can't touch or drip onto other foods.
- Don’t wash raw meat before cooking it. Washing doesn't get rid of harmful bacteria - the only way to do this is by cooking the food thoroughly. If you wash raw meat or fish you also run the risk of splashing bacteria onto worktops and utensils.