Top tips for a five-star hygiene rating in your kitchen

food hygiene washing vegetables under the tap pic 2 PPP-150104-133928001

food hygiene washing vegetables under the tap pic 2 PPP-150104-133928001

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With the hygiene ratings of Eastbourne’s eateries revealed, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has some advise for keeping your kitchen at a five-star standard.

The FSA said there are more than a million cases of food poisoning in the UK each year.

Here are its top tips for a five-star kitchen.

Cleaning

- Hands are one of the main ways in which germs are spread. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before cooking and after touching the bin, going to the toilet, handling pets or handling raw food.

- Wash or change dish cloths, tea towels, sponges and oven gloves regularly and let them dry before you use them again. Dirty, damp cloths are the perfect place for bacteria to breed.

Cross contamination

- Cross contamination occurs when harmful germs are spread between food, surfaces and equipment. Help to prevent this by removing clutter that you don’t need and washing worktops before and after cooking.

- Always use a chopping board. Wash the board and other utensils in hot, soapy water when you’ve finished using them and in between preparing raw foods (meat, poultry, eggs, fish and raw vegetables) and ready-to-eat food. Better still, use a separate chopping board for each.

Chilling

- Make sure your fridge is set below 5°C, using a fridge thermometer to check. This is to prevent harmful germs from growing and multiplying.

- Don’t overfill your fridge. This allows air to circulate and maintains the set temperature.

- Store raw meat and poultry at the bottom of the fridge and properly wrap or cover it to avoid raw juices contaminating other foods.

Cooking

- Cook food thoroughly until it is steaming hot in the middle. This will kill any harmful bacteria that may be present.

Use by’ dates

- ‘Use by’ dates are found on perishable products, such as dairy, meat and fish, and are based on scientific testing to determine how long these foods will stay safe. After that date, food could be unsafe to eat even if it is stored correctly and looks and smells fine.

- ‘Best before’ dates are used on foods that have a longer shelf life and tell us how long the food will be at its best. After that date it is normally safe to eat, but its flavour and texture might have deteriorated.

Take the FSA’s Kitchen Check Test to find out if your hygiene habits mean you’re cooking up a storm, or if they’re putting you in hot water, at www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/campaigns/kitchen-check/kitchen-check1/tool

And to see a full list of hygiene ratings for Eastbourne eateries, click

here.