Food hygiene basics – preventing food poisoning pt.2

As we learnt in part 1 of this guide, food poisoning is often caused by contamination by harmful bacteria, which can multiply and spread in certain conditions. Now, let’s look at how bacteria can be controlled and killed, and how to prevent contamination in the first place.

Controlling and killing bacteria through temperature

Bacteria are not killed when they are frozen – they are simply kept in a state of suspended animation. When chilled, bacteria will multiply far less slowly.  However, the way to kill bacteria is to ensure that food containing it is heated to a temperature of 75°C all the way through. Reheating food more than once can be very dangerous, as it stops and starts the multiplication process and can also make bacteria resistant to heat.

Preventing contamination

The best way to prevent the risk of food poisoning is to prevent contamination in the first place. Food hygiene training teaches people who regularly handle food how to prevent contamination through methods such as:

  • Washing hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling raw food
  • Storing and cooking all food products at the recommended temperature
  • Storing raw and cooked food products well away from each other
  • Using thermometers to check the temperature of hot, cooked food
  • Preparing raw and cooked food products well away from each other, using separate utensils, chopping boards and equipment, and cleaning everything thoroughly between tasks