Food Hygiene Guidelines

Key Points when Handling Food  

Anyone involved in a food business should have a high standard of personal and general hygiene.
High standards of hygiene will reduce the risk of contamination and help to prevent food poisoning.

The key points are:

  • Clean surfaces before preparing food
  • Separate raw and cooked foods and use separate utensils
  • Wash hands regularly, including palms and backs of hands, especially at the following times:
    • Before preparing food
    • Between handling raw and cooked food
    • After using the toilet
    • After eating, drinking and smoking breaks
    • After handling refuse and waste materials
  • Cover wounds with waterproof high visibility dressings
  • Follow good personal hygiene guidelines i.e. tying back long hair
  • Wear clean and protective clothing to prevent contaminating food
  • Defrost food thoroughly before cooking
  • Cook joints of meat thoroughly
  • When reheating any food, ensure that it is heated above 82°C for at least two minutes
  • After cooking food, cool it as quickly as possible if it is to go in the fridge
  • Keep food piping hot at above 63°C or cold below 8°C (ideally around 3°C) to reduce the risk of growth of food poisoning bacteria
  • Cover food to prevent contamination
  • Store raw foods below cooked foods to prevent blood etc. dripping onto cooked food
  • Check refrigerator and freezer temperatures with a thermometer. Record these in a log book

Further guidance can be found on the Food Standards Agency website or you can download a copy of the Food Hygiene: a guide for businesses booklet.

E. coli 0157

Bacteria, such as E. coli 0157 can easily be spread to food. If your business handles raw food which could be contaminated with E. coli 0157 in the same establishment as ready-to-eat food, there will be a greater risk. The FSA has produced a factsheet E. coli 0157: An invisible threat to your business highlighting the food hygiene measures that need to be put in place. Our Officers will consider these measures as part of their inspections.

Fitness to Work

Any person working in a food area who knows or suspects that they are suffering from or carrying any illness or condition likely to result in food contamination must advise their employer.

No person known or suspected to be suffering from, or to be a carrier, of a disease likely to be transmitted through food (e.g. by infected wounds, skin infection, sores or diarrhoea) should be allowed to work in any food handling area if there is any possibility of contaminating the food. Those ill should refrain from work, report to your manager if a member of staff and not return back to work for at least 48 hours clear of symptoms.

The Food Handlers Fitness to Work booklet explains what staff and managers should do to stop the spread of infection.  

Further guidance to help managers and staff prevent the spread of infection can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.


Food Safety Team
Tel: (01444) 477433