Food Hygiene – The Essentials

Food hygiene is an essential element of maintaining good health. Should the basic fundamentals of food hygiene be ignored whilst buying, preparing, cooking and storing foods the outcome is more than likely to result in food poisoning. It is therefore essential to understand how to store food and clean your food preparation areas hygienically.

Once you have purchased your food ensure you unwrap it as soon as possible. Make sure you store raw and cooked foods separately in your refrigerator ensuring that you cover them to help prevent cross contamination within the cooler. Store any packets and tinned foods in a cool and dry location putting the most recently purchased items at the rear of your cupboard and the older items at the front thereby ensuring a good rotation system.

For bacteria to multiply their require food, moisture, warmth and time. If you ensure your kitchen is clean and dry and any work surfaces are disinfected regularly particularly following preparation of raw meat or chicken you can help reduce the risk of bacteria multiplying thereby causing food poisoning. Ensure your kitchen towels are changed on a regular basis and any wipe down cloths are rinsed in a diluted bleach solution or disinfectant and then thoroughly dried after each use.

When preparing food always insure you wash your hands in hot soapy water prior to touching any foodstuffs. If you feel you need to cough or blow your nose use a clean tissue and dispose of it accordingly ensuring that you wash your hands before touching the food again.

When preparing frozen food make sure you defrost sufficiently, this is particularly important with poultry products. Plan ahead and leave sufficient time for the foods to defrost thoroughly. For optimal results frozen foods are best defrosted it in the fridge, this will take more time but will result in a gradual defrosting protecting the proteins of the meat and thereby providing you with a much better cooked texture. Be vigilant around run-off liquids from thawing foods and that they do not spoil other foods within your refrigerator. The presence of moisture further encourages bacteria therefore ensure you wash meat and poultry just before you require them.

Invest in separate different coloured chopping boards for raw meat poultry and fish. Inexpensive coloured plastic boards are ordinarily more hygienic than wooden ones. Make sure you do not use the same knife cutting raw and cooked foods without first washing.

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