Kitchen Crimes

We’ve all been there, peering into an open fridge wondering “is that still okay to eat?” The fact is, there are all sorts of ways we put ourselves and those that we prepare food for at risk of food poisoning. Check out this guide to common kitchen crimes to stay safe in the kitchen.

A picture of 3 people holding up a sign each. Each sign has the name of a 'Kitchen Crime' on it.

Food Standards Scotland have identified a number of ways you can clean up your act and reduce the risk of illness in your digs. Whether you think you’re innocent or guilty, it’s easy to make some small changes in your kitchen to reduce the risk of food poisoning crimes.

1) Fridge Stuffer

Someone who crams too much into their fridge. This raises the temperature, meaning food poisoning germs can grow quicker. Gross.

2) Five-Second Believer 

Someone who drops food on the floor but eats it anyway. E. coli and other bacteria can transfer from surface to surface in less than a second.

3) Ham Sniffer

Someone who thinks they can tell if food poisoning germs are present by smelling food, instead of trusting the use-by date on the packet. You can’t smell or taste harmful bugs like listeria, which can grow in many perishable foods such as cooked sliced ham. Check the use-by date – it’s there to tell you how long food will stay safe.

4) Multi Pinger

Someone who thinks it’s okay to reheat leftovers more than once. The more times you cool and reheat food, the greater the chance that food poisoning bacteria will grow. And those germs can be nasty!

5) Chicken Washer

Someone who washes chicken, which can splash and spread serious food poisoning bacteria like Campylobacter onto other surfaces.  Your flatmates could end up on a date with the nearest toilet.

6) Open Tinner

Someone who stores open tins in the fridge, instead of emptying contents into a sealed container. This can expose food to harmful bacteria, and in some cases, can cause tin from the can to transfer to the contents. Empty food into a container, make sure it’s covered and place it in the fridge. Put it away!


7) Fridge Mingler 

Someone who doesn’t keep cooked and uncooked food separated in their fridge. This can mean food poisoning bacteria which haven’t been killed by cooking can be passed to other foods you or your flatmates are about to eat. Minglers are the worst.

8) Double Chopper

Someone who uses the same kitchen utensils for raw meat as they do vegetables and other foods, meaning bacteria passes over to their ready-to-eat food. No joke, just cut it out.

9) Grimy Wiper

Someone who doesn’t regularly change or wash their dish cloths and tea towels, creating the ideal place for germs to breed. You could end up wiping out your flatmates!

10) Risky Birder

Someone who eats chicken and turkey without checking it’s been cooked properly. Eating poultry which has red juices when you cut into it or is still pink in the middle means there’s a high risk of Campylobacter bacteria being present – which can make you ill. Don’t chance it, use a meat thermometer to check that the meat is cooked to 75°C or above.

11) Raw Griller

Someone who chows down on burgers and sausages that are still pink in the middle or have pink or red juices. Food poisoning bacteria such as E. coli can be present on minced red meat, meaning that it can be mixed into the middle of burgers and sausages. Cooking these thoroughly kills off any food poisoning bacteria.

12) Meaty Mitter

Someone who doesn’t wash their hands after touching raw meat or poultry, and then goes on to touch other foods This can transfer harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Campylobacter. So get those meat hands out of here and into soapy water.

Why not take the kitchen crimes quiz to see if you're committing any common kitchen crimes? Check out the fill list of kitchen crimes on the Food Standards Scotland website. 

Head back to the Food Standards Scotland Campaign page to find more information on food safety, healthy eating tops and much more.