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Have you committed a kitchen crime?

A lack of good kitchen hygiene can lead to food poisoning. Are you guilty of committing a ‘kitchen crime’ in your home?

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. From undercooking food to ignoring ‘Use By’ dates, all of which can result in harmful bacteria such as campylobacter or listeria. The consequences can be more than an upset tummy. In fact, for the very young, the elderly and those with a weaker immune system, food poisoning can have a devastating effect. 

We’ve identified 20 offending behaviours that lead to poor kitchen hygiene which will help you clean up your act and reduce the risk of illness in the home. But fear not, whether you’re innocent or guilty it’s easy to change your behaviour and reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Take the quiz

Take the quiz

Reduce the risk of giving you or your family food poisoning. Find out if you’re committing ‘kitchen crimes’ with our interactive quiz.


Dodgy Chiller

Someone who forgets to check their fridge is cold enough (0-5°C), using a thermometer or built in temperature gauge, to slow the growth of bacteria that may be present in the food.

Raw Griller

Someone who eats 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 that may be present.

Fridge Stuffer

Someone who crams their fridge full of food which raises the temperature, allowing food poisoning bacteria to grow more quickly.  ­

Ham Sniffer

Someone who thinks they can tell if food poisoning bacteria are present by smelling the 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. The use by date is there to tell you how long the food will stay safe.

5 Second Believer

Someone who drops food on the floor but eats it anyway. E. coli and other bacteria can transfer from surface to surface pretty much instantaneously.


There’s an estimated 43,000 cases of foodborne illness in Scotland every year. That’s 5,800 visits to the GP and 500 requiring hospital treatment.

Multi Pinger

Someone who thinks it’s ok to reheat leftovers more than once. The more times you cool and reheat food, there is greater opportunity for food poisoning bacteria to grow.

Filthy Boarder

Someone who doesn’t wash chopping boards thoroughly in between preparing raw meat and ready-to-eat food, meaning food poisoning bacteria can be transferred to food that won’t be cooked before eating it.

Counter Melter

Someone who defrosts meat outside of their fridge, which can cause bacteria to grow if it becomes too warm too quickly.

Open Tinner

Someone who stores open tins in the fridge, instead of emptying contents into a sealed container. This can expose food to bacteria, and in some cases, can cause tin from the can to be transferred to the contents. When you open a can of food and you're not going to use all of it straight away, empty the food into a bowl, or other container, make sure it’s covered and put it in the fridge.

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’re about to eat.


Poor food safety practices in the home increase the risk of food poisoning. Whilst for most people this usually results in sickness and diarrhoea, it can lead to much more serious illness for those who may be more vulnerable to infection including the very young, the elderly and pregnant women.

Top Shelfer

Someone who doesn’t store raw meat and poultry covered at the bottom of the fridge, meaning it can drip and transfer food poisoning bacteria to other food.

Double Chopper

Someone who doesn’t store raw meat and poultry covered at the bottom of the fridge, meaning it can drip and transfer food poisoning bacteria to other food.


Someone who doesn’t store raw meat and poultry covered at the bottom of the fridge, meaning it can drip and transfer food poisoning bacteria to other food.

Kitchen Zookeeper

Someone who doesn’t store raw meat and poultry covered at the bottom of the fridge, meaning it can drip and transfer food poisoning bacteria to other food.

Label Snubber

Someone who doesn’t store raw meat and poultry covered at the bottom of the fridge, meaning it can drip and transfer food poisoning bacteria to other food.


Research suggest that 56% of people aren’t concerned about food hygiene in their home.

Grimy Wiper

Someone who doesn’t regularly change or wash their dish cloths and tea towels, creating the ideal place for germs to breed.

Chicken Washer

Someone who washes chicken, which causes splashing that spreads the nasty food poisoning bacteria Campylobacter on to other surfaces.

Mucky Prepper

Someone who doesn’t wash their hands before preparing food, causing them to transfer germs from their hands on to food people are about to eat.

Risky Birder

Someone who eats chicken and turkey without checking that its been cooked properly. Eating poultry which has red juices when you cut into it or is still pink in the middle, has a high risk of campylobacter bacteria being present which can make you very ill. It’s better to use a meat thermometer to check that the meat is cooked to 75°C or above.

Meaty Mitter

Someone who doesn’t wash their hands after touching raw meat or poultry, and then goes on to touch other foods, transferring harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Campylobacter.

On average, people in Scotland are likely committing 11 out of 20 of the above ‘kitchen crimes’. But by steering clear of committing these behaviours in the kitchen, you’ll help reduce ‘kitchen crime’ and avoid illness, leaving you free to go about your business.

Read more about Food Safety when cooking at home or eating out.

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