Dealing with food poisoning is not fun, and keeping yourself and family protected from food bacteria is a huge responsibility. The first steps to preventing food poisoning actually start in our very own kitchen. Follow these simple steps below to prevent contamination and reduce any risk of infection.

Storage

  • Make sure your fridge temperature is always at 5°C or below and your freezer is at 15°C or below.
  • Store any raw meat or meat products at the bottom of your fridge in sealed containers, so that they can’t touch or drip onto other foods.
  • When food shopping, buy any frozen or refrigerated goods at the end of your trip and make sure you store them at home as quickly as possible, within 30 minutes.
  • Have separate shelves for raw and cooked foods. The bacteria from raw food can contaminate cold cooked food and multiply to dangerous levels.
  • Try to choose BPA free storage containers.
  • Never store any food in opened tin cans, the metal can transfer into the can’s contents. Transfer the tinned food into a new container instead.
  • Condiments and sauces, especially, can sit in the fridge for months before being completely consumed. When was the last time you checked the use-by date on that bottle of ketchup? Check the dates, and throw the product out if it has changed flavor, odor or appearance.

Preparation

  • This might sound obvious, but always ensure that you are washing your hands thoroughly before you handle any food.
  • Always use separate cutting boards and different knives for meat, fish, fruit and vegetables to prevent cross contamination.
  • It is best not to wash raw chicken. Cooking will kill any bacteria present but washing it can cause the bacteria to spread around on your hands, clothes, or kitchen surfaces.
  • Once you have thawed your meat, chicken, or fish, start cooking immediately. The heat in the kitchen can cause the bacteria in food to multiply very quickly.
  • Everything you place in your fridge should be clean, think of it as a sterile environment. That means, any new piece of food you buy should be washed and cleaned before you put it in the fridge to avoid any bacteria spreading.
  • Even if you plan to peel the fruit and vegetables before eating, it is still important to wash them first so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
  • Raw eggs should not stay at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Reheating and Re-Freezing

  • Don’t freeze any dishes that contain uncooked fruit or veggies, hard-cooked eggs, or mayonnaise.
  • Remove food from packaging before you microwave it. Do not use cling film or any plastic wraps because they are not heat stable at high temperatures.
  • Never re-freeze any raw or cooked meat that has already been thawed, this can promote the development of harmful bacteria.