First Things First!
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap before preparing foods and after handling raw meat. Dry hands thoroughly with paper towel.
- Avoid handling food if suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting.
Temperature, Temperature, Temperature!!!
- Food poisoning bacteria can grow in and on most foods, especially between 5°C and 60°C degrees. This is called the Temperature Danger Zone as between 5°C and 60°C bacteria can multiply rapidly. For this reason all perishable should be stored as quickly as possible after purchase in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Raw meat should always be stored on the lowest refrigerator shelf, away from contact with other foods. Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator or with a microwave only. Never on the kitchen bench!
- When cooling hot food for storage, decant the food into smaller containers to allow it to cool quickly to room temperature (not longer than 2 hours) before placing into the refrigerator. A large quantity of soup left in the boiler can take a day or more to cool below 5°C celcius even when stored in the fridge. It may also raise the temperature inside your refrigerator.
- When reheating previously cooked food make sure this is done as quickly as possible to above 75°C, then hold at above 60°C until ready to serve.
- Ensure other prepared foods, such as potato and pasta salads, are kept refrigerated until just prior to serving.
- Always refrigerate leftovers as soon as you can.
It is easy for bacteria to transfer from one food to another if not handled correctly. Always keep raw food separate from cooked or ready to eat foods during storage and preparation. Use separate boards for preparing meat, dairy and vegetables. Different coloured boards for different types of foods makes this easy. For example, red for raw meat and green for vegetables.
Wash and sanitize counter tops, cutting boards, utensils and sinks after contact with raw meats and poultry. Use hot soapy water to wash surfaces and utensils or place them directly in the dishwasher. For countertops, an alternative is to use a mild mixture of water and household bleach, rinsing thoroughly afterwards.
Ensure meats are properly cooked. No pink colour should remain in the centre of hamburger, sausages or minced meat. In poultry, the juices should run clear and the joints free of blood. Fish is done when it flakes easily.