Food poisoning

We've all driven the porcelain bus at some time. How can you avoid food poisoning?
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  • Updated:1 Jun 2005

02.Don't poison your guests

There are three golden rules for avoiding food poisoning:

  • Avoid the temperature danger zone. Bacteria thrive at temperatures between 4°C and 60°C. In ideal conditions, just one can become more than two million within seven hours. So store cold food below 4°C and hot food above 60°C.
  • Avoid cross-contamination. At home, the most likely sources of harmful bacteria are raw meat and unwashed fruit and vegetables. Don’t let raw meat or juices come into contact with food that’s going to be eaten uncooked or defrosting meat drip onto other food in the fridge. Always wash your hands before starting to prepare food — and wash them again after handling raw meat. 
  • When in doubt, toss it out. Most food-poisoning bacteria and their toxins have no taste or smell. The smell of putrefaction is usually due to relatively harmless bacteria called pseudomonas. So it needn’t be obvious that food’s contaminated. Can I eat it? has the answers to your dodgy-food-in-the-fridge questions.

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