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Monday, June 8, 1998 Published at 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK


Eating safe

One of the most valuable lessons of cookery is hygiene

Food safety is increasingly in the news, but many people are ignorant about the basic rules of hygiene, according to a survey by the Food and Drink Federation, and these could make the difference between relaxing after a good meal and being up all night with food poisoning.

The federation's A-Z of Food Safety guidelines, which are regularly updated, contains basic tips on how to keep safe. You should always:

  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold
  • Keep your fridge at -5 degrees centigrade
  • Do not let raw food touch cooked food - even in the fridge - and use separate chopping boards for raw and cooked food
  • Wash your dishcloth often as it is the classic place for germs to breed
  • Follow the cooking and storage instructions on the food packet, eg, think again if you arrive home desperately hungry and are tempted to speed up instructions on thawing frozen food.

    Wash your hands before touching food.

"These are all obvious messages that we know, but sometimes forget," said a spokeswoman for the federation.

Scratching and coughing

Other useful hygiene hints which can prevent infection are:

  • Do not use the same towel for your hands as you do for the dishes
  • Do not scratch or touch other parts of your body, eg, rub your eyes, while cooking as this will contaminate your hands with germs on those parts of your skin
  • Do not cook if you have open cuts or sores as this could cause food poisoning
  • Do not sneeze or cough on food
  • Do not wear long sleeves which could drag in food. Roll them up first.




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