Coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed the way we are doing our food shopping and likely increased the amount we are cooking at home.
To make sure you’re doing all you can to avoid food poisoning, here are some useful things to remember to help keep you and those around you safe.
1. Keep your kitchen clean
- Wash utensils and chopping boards thoroughly between uses to avoid passing bacteria from raw to ready-to-eat food.
- Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before preparing food and again after touching raw food, especially meat.
- It’s really important to keep worktops clean so always wash them before you start preparing food, wipe up any spillages straight away and clean thoroughly after they have been touched by raw meat, including poultry.
- Dirty, damp cloths and tea cloths are a breeding ground for bacteria. Make sure to wash them regularly.
2. Cooking food
- Before starting to cook, have a look at the cooking instructions on the packaging and follow these carefully throughout.
- Check food is cooked throughout, there are no pink bits and the juices run clear when cooking poultry, sausages and burgers to avoid eating harmful bacteria.
- Use a food thermometer to check food is 75 °C or above, to reduce the risk of getting food poisoning.
- Keep leftover food in the fridge to slow bacterial growth but don’t keep it for longer than two days.
- Only reheat leftovers once. The more times you cool and reheat food, the greater the chance of nasty bacteria growing and making you ill.
- If you have cooked food that you aren't going to eat straight away, cool it as quickly as possible (ideally within one to two hours) and then keep it in the fridge.
4. Avoid overfilling your fridge
- It’s important to avoid overfilling your fridge. Packing a fridge full raises the temperature, allowing food poisoning bacteria to grow more quickly.
- If your fridge is fuller than usual, turn the temperature down, and try and leave some space as this allows air to circulate and maintain the set temperature.
- A fridge should be between 0 and 5 °C, check that yours is cold enough.
5. Use by dates
- In order to keep food safe to eat and to limit waste, you can freeze it up to the use by date.
- You can’t smell or taste bacteria which can cause food poisoning, so it’s important to always follow the use by dates on foods in the fridge.
Head back to the Food Standards Scotland hub for more information on food safety, healthy eating tips and more.