Washing and preparing food

Keep yourself and your kitchen clean by washing and drying your hands thoroughly.

Cleaning

Right 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

Watch our videos on handwashing

Make sure you keep worktops, chopping boards and utensils clean. If they’ve been touched by raw meat, poultry or eggs, you'll need to wash them thoroughly.

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.

Cross contamination

This 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 and unwashed vegetables separate from ready-to-eat food during storage and preparation
  • 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 the harmful germs that can be present – only proper cooking will. You also run the risk of splashing germs onto worktops and utensils

Remember the 4 Cs and don't make your mealtime a horror story!

For more on the illnesses caused by food poisoning, see our Foodborne Illness page.

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Food poisoning isn’t just something you get outside your home – the meals you prepare can be a source of food poisoning too.

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