Food safety and hygiene

The Four Cs

Many people think that when we suffer from sickness and diarrhoea it is the result of food poisoning picked up from outside the home. In fact, most food poisoning actually occurs in the home and is a direct result of poor kitchen hygiene, with germs from raw foods (including meat, poultry, eggs, fish and seafood, raw fruit and vegetables) being transferred to kitchen surfaces or other foods whilst preparing meals, or food not being cooked properly.

Reduce the chance of a bout of food poisoning with our simple guide to kitchen hygiene. Just remember the Four Cs: Cross Contamination, Cleaning, Cooking and Chilling.

The Four Cs of food hygiene:

Cross contamination

One of the biggest causes of food poisoning is cross contamination. This is when harmful germs on one food are accidentally passed to other foods – usually from a person’s hands or kitchen utensils. But these health risks can be easily prevented:

Wash your hands with soap and clean water before touching food and immediately after handling raw food (e.g. meat, eggs), handling bins, touching pets, or going to the toilet. Dettol No-touch Antibacterial Hand Wash is a great way to prevent cross contamination. Just hold out your hands and antibacterial soap is dispensed automatically.

  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces immediately after preparing food
  • Ideally, use different colour-coded chopping boards for raw and ready-to-eat foods
  • Cover food or keep it in sealed containers to stop germs getting in
  • Store and prepare raw food away from cooked and ready-to-eat foods
  • Keep any pets or animals away from food preparation and eating areas.


Cook meat thoroughly to kill the harmful germs that cause food poisoning. To check your meat is cooked, insert a knife into the thickest part – there should be no sign of pink meat and any juices should run clear. When reheating food, make sure it is steaming hot all the way through, and never reheat food more than once. 


Keeping foods cool (0–5°C, 32–41°F) or frozen slows the growth of harmful bacteria. Always check the storage instructions and ‘use by’ date on your food’s packaging. If you have any leftovers, cover and store them in your fridge or freezer within two hours of cooking, making sure they have completely cooled first. Separate them into smaller containers to speed up cooling if necessary.

You may also like