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How not to poison your friends

publication date: Oct 17, 2011
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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There are an awesome number of cases of food poisoning every year most of them perpetrated by dodgy restaurants and fast food traders but if you don’t want to add to the statistics you do need to be at least vaguely aware of what constitutes food hygiene

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before starting to prepare food. With soap. And dry them with a hand towel or kitchen towel rather than your tea towel
  • Keep your working surfaces clean. Or use a clean chopping board if they’re not. Give them a good blitz every couple of days with an anti-bacterial cleaner
  • Keep the sink clean and free from teabags, potato peelings, leftover pasta and other grot
  • Wash your tea towels regularly and replace the washing up brush and/or scourers before they get too squalid
  • Keep the food you store in the fridge wrapped or covered - partly to avoid cross contamination, partly to stop them drying out.
  • Don’t store fresh and cooked meat side by side or put fresh meat or fish where it can drip onto cooked food. (No wonder so many people are vegetarian.) Wash any utensils or chopping board you have used for preparing raw meat before using them for anything else
  • Don’t refreeze frozen food that has thawed , especially ice cream
  • If you’re using frozen chicken or other joints defrost them completely before cooking them.
  • If you cook something to eat later or have perishable food left over cool it then refrigerate it. (Never put warm food in the in the fridge.) If you’re going to eat it hot always reheat it thoroughly - that means simmer it for at least 5 minutes
  • Make sure your fridge is set at a cold enough setting for the amount of food it has in it. (i.e. the more food the higher the setting should be). Defrost and clean it thoroughly at least once a term.
  • Refrigerate perishable food as soon as you can after buying it. Don’t lug it round warm lecture rooms and coffee bars.
  • Store the contents of half-finished tins like canned tomatoes or fruit in china, glass or plastic containers. Tins that are left open to the air can corrode
  • Get rid of anything that smells rank or shows obvious signs of decay - spots of mould, furry growths or generally unappealing squishy bits. Also potatoes that have sprouted or developed green patches. And anything that has passed its eat-by date. If in doubt chuck it out!


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