Food safety at home

Foods need to be stored, handled and cooked carefully and at temperatures that avoid the spread and growth of bacteria that can make you sick. Take care when preparing home-cooked meals. [1]

Hygiene

Wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. You should wash the front and back of both hands, and in between your fingers. Twist the opposite hand around each thumb and rub the tips of your fingers in the palms of your hands. Then dry thoroughly.

Wash your hands before and after handling food and touching raw meat, seafood or egg.

Wash your hand before and after eating.

Clean your benches with hot soapy water or cleaning spray.

Carefully wash chopping boards and utensils in hot soapy water, with a scrubbing brush. Or use a dishwasher, if you have one.

 

Contamination

The bacteria on raw foods can quickly spread to ready-to-eat foods like fruits, vegetables and bread. Never prepare ready-to-eat foods with the same utensils that you use for raw chicken, meat, seafood or eggs.

Carefully wash chopping boards and utensils in hot soapy water, with a scrubbing brush. Or use a dishwasher, if you have one.

Use separate utensils every time or take a minute to wash everything properly with hot soapy water. You can use different coloured chopping boards for raw meats and ready-to-eat foods.

Raw meats should always be stored at the bottom of the fridge. If the juices drip, they won’t contaminate other foods.

 

Temperature

The bacteria that cause food poisoning thrives at temperatures between 5-60°C. This is called the temperature danger zone.

Hot foods should be kept 60°C or hotter. Keep cold food at 5 degrees Celsius or colder.

You can’t always tell if foods contain bacteria that might make you sick by the look, smell or taste. If in doubt, throw it out.

Put leftovers in the fridge right after they’ve finished steaming. Make sure your fridge is operating at five degrees or colder.

Before freezing, cool food to five°C or less. Food in your freezer should be frozen solid.

To minimise the time food is in the temperature danger zone, defrost in the fridge or microwave. Do not thaw on the bench.

Once defrosted, cook immediately. Cook your meals until they are steaming hot all the way through (above 75°C). [2]

 

[1] HealthDirect. (2019) Food safety (accessed on 1 May 2020).

[2] Queensland Government. (2020) Food safety (accessed on 1 May 2020).





Page last updated: Tuesday, 12 April 2022

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