Skip to main content

Food safety

Handy tips for food safety

Cooking for your family begins with making sure you’re properly prepared, following instructions and storing all food in the right place. It’s all pretty straightforward but there’s no shortcuts when it comes to your family’s health. Find below our top tips for food safety.

Top tips to try at home

Tip #1: Freezing cooked food

Make sure to cool cooked food or leftovers as quickly as possible, and then store them in the freezer. Dividing food into shallow containers helps speed up the cooling process.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #2: How to check food is properly cooked through

To test if food has been cooked properly, cut open the food with a small knife so you can make sure it's steaming hot in the middle.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #3: How to stop bacteria from spreading

Don’t use the same knife to prepare ready-to-eat-foods and raw meat or fish. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat or fish. Always store raw meat or fish on the bottom shelf to ensure they don't drip on other foods.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #4: Defrosting frozen food

Defrost frozen food in the fridge so it doesn't get too warm. Cook it within one or two days as it will go off just like fresh food does.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #5: Keeping your kitchen clean

Before you start preparing food‚ give your worktops, kitchen utensils and chopping boards a good clean. If they've been touched by raw meat, poultry or eggs, you'll need to wash them thoroughly to keep your family safe from illness.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #6: Extend the life of food by freezing

To make food last longer, freeze it before its use-by-date, and defrost and use it within 24 hours. Providing eggs are cooked thoroughly, they can be eaten a day or two after their 'best before' date.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #7: Why shouldn't you wash raw meat before cooking it?

If you wash raw meat, chicken or fish, you run the risk of splashing bacteria onto worktops and utensils. Washing doesn't get rid of harmful bacteria - the only way to do this is by cooking the food thoroughly.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #8: How to store raw food safely

It's important to keep raw meat and fish away from ready-to-eat food, such as salad, fruit and bread. These types of food won't be cooked before you eat them, so any bacteria that gets onto the food won't be killed.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #9: Reheating tips

When you reheat food, make sure it's steaming hot all the way through. If the food is just warm, it might not be safe to eat. And never reheat food more than once.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #10: Best before isn't the same as use by date

Best before dates refer to quality rather than food safety. Foods with a 'best before' date should be safe to eat after the 'best before' date, but they may no longer be at their best.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #11: Stick to the use by date

Use-by-dates refer to safety. Food can be eaten up to the end of this date, but not after, even if it looks and smells fine. Always follow the storage instructions on the packet. Even if food looks and smells fine, using it after this date could put you and your family's health at risk.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #12: Defrosting frozen food with a microwave

You can use a microwave to defrost frozen food, but if you do, make sure you cook it straight away!

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #13: Hand washing

Hands can easily spread bacteria around the kitchen and onto food. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before starting to prepare food. Especially if you've been touching raw meat or chicken, going to the toilet, touching the bin or pets!

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #14: Defrosting raw meat or fish

If you're defrosting raw meat or fish, keep them in a sealed container at the bottom of the fridge to make sure they don't touch or drip onto other foods.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #15: Freezing raw food

It's fine to freeze most raw or cooked foods - just make sure to do it before the 'use by' date. Also, don't forget to follow any freezing or defrosting instructions on the label.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #16: Storing tinned food: can I leave a tin can open?

Never store food in an opened tin can. The tin from the can makes the contents taste bad and may make you ill. Instead, empty the food into a bowl or other container, cover, and put it in the fridge.

Loved it? Let us know!

This article was created as part of

Eat Better Feel Better

Last updated: 25 Feb, 2019