The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a reminder as to how awareness of the 4 Cs of food safety — cooking, cleaning, chilling and cross-contamination — can prevent food poisoning.

The FSA says it has created a Kitchen Check, based on advice from its food safety experts, to help control the risk of food poisoning following concerns that there are more than a million cases of food poisoning in the UK each year.

The tips are based on using effective cooking, cleaning and chilling, as well as preventing cross-contamination, to prevent food poisoning.

The FSA has highlighted the following key points.

  • Cleaning: Hands are one of the main ways in which germs are spread and should be washed thoroughly with soap and warm water before cooking and after touching the bin, going to the toilet, handling pets or handling raw food. It is also important to wash or change dish cloths, tea towels, sponges and oven gloves regularly and let them dry before they are used again. Dirty, damp cloths are the perfect place for bacteria to breed.

  • Cross-contamination occurs when harmful germs are spread between food, surfaces and equipment. Chopping boards should be used and washed in hot, soapy water after use and in between preparing raw foods and ready-to-eat food. It is better still to use a separate chopping board for each.

  • Chilling food properly is essential, making sure the fridge is set below 5°C to prevent harmful germs from growing and multiplying. Raw meat and poultry should be stored at the bottom of the fridge and properly wrapped or covered to avoid raw juices contaminating other foods.

  • Cooking: Food should be thoroughly cooked until it is steaming hot in the middle to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present.

Further information about the 4 Cs of food safety and the Kitchen Check campaign can be accessed on the FSA website.

Last reviewed 12 January 2017