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Kitchen hygiene during food preparation in the kitchen is essential to everyone’s health. Whether its at home, a commercial kitchen, catering, or a food factory. Kitchen hygiene forms the basis for any food safety system. 

What are the 10 Basic kitchen hygiene rules?

1. Keep your hand clean (Kitchen hygiene rule 101):

Keeping your hands clean and germ-free is at the top of the kitchen hygiene rules list. It’s easy for bacteria to be transferred from raw foods to your hands to everywhere else in the kitchen, so wash your hands throughout food prep and before and after cooking food. This also includes personal hygiene, meaning keeping fingernails short and clean. Clean and appropriate uniforms and fitness for work. 

2. Cook your foods to completion

One of the most important kitchen hygiene rules is to ensure food is cooked properly. If undercooked, harmful bacteria could lead to food poisoning. High temperatures (+70°C) are the best way to kill harmful bacteria such as E.coliSalmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes. Keeping foods above 60°C during serving is also legally required. (R638)

3. Storing foods safely 

It is absolutely vital to store food properly to keep it safe from harmful bacteria, chemicals, and objects falling into food. In other words, preventing cross-contamination. This effectively means keeping raw foods away from foods that are ready to eat.  Make sure leftovers or open food packets are covered with cling film or sealed in a plastic container. Keep your fridge tidy and dispose of any items that are out of date.

You’ll need to store the various food groups in different different areas. This means you’ll need:

  • Sealable containers to keep dry goods in cupboards or on the shelves – such as pasta, rice, and flour
  • A fridge to keep your foods fresh for a long as possible.
  • A freezer to keep foods for longer periods of time. 

4. Clean-as-you-go 

Keeping kitchen counter tops and food equipment clean after every use is one of the easiest (and most essential) basic kitchen hygiene rules. You’ll not only be keeping things clean and tidy, you’ll be stopping the spread of bacteria. Using the correct chemicals here is also essential. Remember we cannot see bacteria. Regular cleaning and sanitising will ensure a clean and germ free environment. 

5. Kitchen hygiene rules: don’t cross-contaminate

If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you’ll understand why avoiding cross-contamination is high on the list of basic kitchen hygiene rules. Use different cutting boards for preparing fish, meat, veg, dairy, or bread (different colour boards can help with this), and never prepare or keep ready-to-eat foods near or next to raw meats and vegetables. These simple kitchen hygiene tips will help avoid the spread of potentially dangerous bacteria.

6. Cutting Boards are critical areas

Bits of food left on a cutting board will soon breed bacteria, so scrubbing down your board immediately after use is vital to stop them from spreading. Quick, easy, and essential, cleaning and sanitising cutting boards is one of the most essential kitchen hygiene rules.

7.Clean your fridge regularly

Ensuring your fridge is clean is one of the top 10 kitchen hygiene rules in t for good reason. Left alone, spills and spoiled food will spread bacteria to everything else, so clean out the fridge and dispose of expired food on a weekly basis. 

8. Basins need a clean too

Your wash and rinse basins are used regularly throughout the day, so it’ll become grimy and covered in bacteria quickly if it’s not kept clean. Again, this is one of those kitchen hygiene rules that doesn’t take much time, but that is well worth doing: just give your sink a quick scrub with a scourer and a spritz of cleaner and sanitiser once a day. 

9. Grease build-up is problematic

Greasy surfaces or pots and pans are able to prevent proper sanitising from taking place. Bacteria are able to hide behind greasy areas, allowing them to survive. Always clean with a clean cloth and multi-purpose cleaner to remove the greasy layer, before using a suitable surface sanitiser.  

10. Kitchen bins are germ havens

Regularly changing your bin is a key aspect of kitchen hygiene. Old food in a bin will soon decompose and bacteria will start to form. Not to mention the bad odours and on occasion the little white squirmy maggots! 

Pro tip: 

Food Handlers training

By law, food business operators must ensure that food handlers receive the appropriate training in kitchen hygiene and food safety, which is in line with the area they work in and will enable them to handle food in the safest way. 

The required training includes:

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