Cooking: food safety tips

Thorough cooking is very important because it kills harmful bacteria in food. If bacteria survive in food because it is not cooked properly, it could make your customers ill.

What you need to do

  • don’t serve any food that is not properly cooked
  • once food is cooked, serve it immediately or keep it hot until serving
  • if you’re cooking food in advance, cool and chill it quickly

How to check

  • inspect food to make sure it’s thoroughly cooked - for example, check that it’s piping hot all the way through and that meat juices run clear
  • check regularly that hot food is kept hot until serving
  • remember, hot food must be kept above 63°C (145°F)
  • when you’re serving or displaying hot food, you can keep it below 63°C for a maximum of two hours; only do this once; then you must throw away the food, or cool it as quickly as possible and keep it chilled until it’s used

Cooking food

  • cook food thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria
  • don't shorten cooking times given on package labels or cooking books
  • thaw frozen meat and poultry thoroughly or it may not cook completely. Defrost food in the fridge or by microwaving
  • do not make recipes that include eggs which won't be cooked, such as mayonnaise (raw eggs sometimes contain food poisoning bacteria only killed by thorough cooking)
  • wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly
  • cooked food should only be reheated once until piping hot

More resources:

Safer breakfasts diary (word 68KB)