It is estimated that more than 5 Million people suffer from foodbourne illnesses every year in the UK, most of these are avoidable. The risk of food poisoning can be greatly reduced by following some simple rules.
Ensure that hands are washed frequently especially after using the toilet and before eating. If it is not possible to wash your hands before eating your food, consider using some wet wipes or hand sanitiser to cleanse hands. It is also very important after petting animals. Just because they look clean doesn’t mean they are, you can't see bacteria with your naked eye.
Transport food home in coolbags or boxes, and put into the fridge or freezer as soon as possible. Remember to keep raw meats separate from other foods to avoid cross contamination.
Keep perishable foods in the refrigerator at a temperature between 0-5oC, keep a thermometer in the refrigerator and check the temperature regularly, as the temperature can fluctuate throughout the year, even when kept on the same setting.
Defrost frozen foods thoroughly in the refrigerator before cooking unless the cooking instructions state otherwise.
Minimise the time out of the refrigerator. Ideally make sandwiches for packed lunches just before consuming, if this is not possible make them and keep them covered and refrigerated.
Never use foods after their ‘use by’ date, as this date indicates the date after which the food is no longer safe to eat.
Keep pets off the kitchen surfaces and away from your food. Give your pets separate feeding bowls and store their food away from your own. Wash pet bowls separately.
Wash salads and raw vegetables to remove traces of soil and pesticides.
Choose a small insulated cool bag for packed lunches, a small ice pack can be inserted to keep the food cool and safe. Remember to purchase a cool bag that can be easily cleaned, and remember to wash and sanitise the inside of the bags and the ice blocks, to avoid cross contamination. If you don’t have ice blocks, chill drinks and pack next to wrapped sandwiches as a temporary solution.
Check the labels on foods, some foods like ketchup, mayonnaise and jam can be stored at ambient temperature until they are opened and then need to be refrigerated, the date indicated on the container is the date the product should be consumed before if the product is not opened, once opened the shelf life of the product is greatly reduced.
For further advice, guidance or requests for information please contact the Environmental Services Food team.
Environmental Services (Food, Health & Safety Team)
Telephone: 01255 686767