Preventing Food Poisoning

There are four main rules for avoiding food poisoning when in the kitchen, the Food Standards Agency call them the four C’s

  • Cross Contamination 
  • Cleaning 
  • Chilling 
  • Cooking

Cross Contamination

Cross-contamination is a major cause of food poisoning and is where germs are spread from one place to another, usually from raw food to cooked food either directly by using the same surface or indirectly by dripping from one shelf onto the shelf below. Germs can also be spread from hands, cooking utensils or cloths etc.

To stop food poisoning from cross-contamination, follow these simple steps:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw food 
  • Keep raw and ready-to-eat foods separate 
  • Store raw meat in sealable containers at the bottom of the fridge, so it can’t drip onto other foods 
  • Use different chopping boards/work surfaces for raw food and ready-to-eat food
  • Clean knives and other utensils thoroughly after use with raw food


Good personal hygiene and keeping your kitchen clean can help stop the spread of germs. Washing your hands in one of the best ways to stop germs spreading, particularly:

  • after visiting the toilet 
  • after handling raw foods 
  • before touching ready-to-eat food 
  • don’t handle food when you are ill with stomach problems, such as diarrhoea or vomiting 
  • don’t touch food if you have sores or cuts, unless they are covered with a waterproof plaster or dressing

Cooking food thoroughly

Thorough cooking kills food poisoning germs such as Listeria, Salmonella, E.coli O157 and Campylobacter. Make sure that food is cooked right through and piping hot and don’t reheat it more than once!


Keeping foods at the right temperature is very important to stop germs growing and creating toxins that make you ill. Always follow the labels and id it has to be refrigerated, make sure you put it in the fridge as soon as you can. Every twenty minutes that the food is left out, the germs are likely to have doubled.

Last Modified: 22/01/2022
For more information contact:

Food, Health and Safety Enforcement

Tel: 01633 647623

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