Behind every toaster, in every fridge, on every chopping board, there might be germs. If they're allowed to spread and multiply, your mealtime could become a horror story.
Come with us now, as we take you through the hidden dangers of an everyday kitchen. And remember the 4 Cs (cleaning, cooking, chilling and cross-contamination) and you could keep you and your family safe from food poisoning...
CleaningRight now, your hands could be carrying germs – thousands of them. They're invisible, and can easily spread onto food, making you and your loved ones ill.
Stop the invasion before it's too late! Keep yourself and your kitchen clean by washing and drying your hands thoroughly:
- before preparing food
- after touching raw food, especially meat
- after going to the toilet
Don't forget to change dish cloths and tea towels regularly. They may look clean, but they're the perfect place for germs to breed. Don't let the germs win!
|Killer Fact: Harmful germs spread more easily on damp hands. Keep you and your family safe by drying washed hands thoroughly.|
CookingGerms such as salmonella and E. coli are waiting to strike at any time.
However, they can be killed by thorough cooking:
- always follow the instructions on the label
- always check your food is steaming hot in the middle – there should be steam coming out
- don't reheat food more than once
- when reheating, take extra care your food is cooked all the way through
It's especially important to make sure poultry, pork, burgers and sausages are cooked all the way through. If there's any pink meat or the juices have any pink or red in them, germs could be lurking. So stop them!
Some meat, such as steaks and joints of beef or lamb, can be served rare as long as the outside has been properly cooked.
|Killer Fact: Food poisoning cases double during the summer months. Cook your burgers and sausages until there is no pink meat left and they are steaming hot throughout.|
ChillingTo us, it's a fridge. To some harmful germs, it's a living hell – so stop them growing by keeping them cold. And make sure you put the right foods in the fridge – look out for a 'use by' date or 'keep refrigerated' on the label.
Your fridge is a superb weapon in the battle against germs, but it must be used effectively. Here are a few useful things to remember:
- keep it at the right temperature (between 0°C and 5°C)
- keep the fridge door closed as much as possible
- wait for food to cool down before you put it in the fridge
- if your fridge is full, it might need your help! Turn the temperature down to help it fight germs
Keep food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible. And when you're eating outside at a barbecue or picnic, use a cool bag or cool box.
If you're putting out food for a party, try not to leave it out for more than four hours. Otherwise germs might have a party of their own!
|Killer Fact: Outside the fridge, just 10 invisible germs can multiply to 1000 in 6 hours. Keep your family's food in a cool bag or cool box when you're eating outside.|
Cross-contaminationThis is the final operation in the battle against germs. They mustn't be allowed to spread around your kitchen and invade food that's ready to eat! This is one of the major causes of food poisoning.
But here are a few simple things you can do to help stop it happening:
- keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat food
- don't let raw meat drip onto other food – keep it in sealed containers at the bottom of your fridge
- never use the same chopping board for raw meat and ready-to-eat food without washing the board (and knife) thoroughly in between
- don't wash meat before cooking it. Washing doesn't get rid of harmful germs – only proper cooking will. You also run the risk of splashing germs onto worktops and utensils
|Killer Fact: Salmonella can easily be spread around your kitchen. Help protect your family by keeping raw meat and poultry in covered containers at the bottom of the fridge.|