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Food Poisoning and Contamination
The signs and symptoms of food poisoning can vary, but can include:
- vomiting (sickness)
- stomach pains
If you think you have food poisoning, or need to report a contamination, please complete our online form.
Cooking food safely
Which meats should be cooked thoroughly all the way through?
Poultry, pork, rolled joints, burgers, sausages, chicken nuggets, kebabs, kidneys, liver and other types of offal, and any minced meat or fish must be cooked thoroughly. This is because the process of mincing and chopping mixes the bacteria from the outside surface of meat to within the meat. Whole joints of lamb and beef are safe to eat when the outside is thoroughly cooked, which is why you can eat beef and lamb rare. Beef burgers should always be thoroughly cooked.
When cooking small pieces of meat, such as sausages move them around the pan and turn them regularly to ensure even cooking. Temperature and cooking times will vary depending on the type of cut of meat. Always follow the information on the label for cooking times and oven temperatures. All meat should be checked visually to see if it is cooked thoroughly.
How do I check meats are properly cooked?
When you pierce the thickest part of the meat with a fork or skewer, the juices should run clear. For a whole chickens or other birds the thickest part is the thigh and the breast. Meat changes colour when it is cooked. Meat should never be served pink, unless it a whole joint of beef or lamb. If you're cooking a large dish of food, such as a lasagne, check it is piping hot in a few places, as some parts of the dish may be less hot than others. The centre of a dish of food is usually the last area to thoroughly cook.
Information on Barbecue's can be found on the Food Standards Agency website
When Refrigerating Food:
- Place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in containers or sealed plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods. Raw juices often contain harmful bacteria.
- Store eggs in their original carton and refrigerate as soon as possible.
- Use food within its use-by date.
- Keep high risk foods such as soft cheeses, cooked meats etc at or below 5oc. Affordable refrigerator thermometers are available from many reputable suppliers.
- Always store raw meat and root vegetables at the bottom of the fridge and ready to eat items like ham and chees at the top.
Protect food in your shopping bag by:
- Separating raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your trolley and then bag;
- At the checkout, place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in plastic bags to keep their juices from dripping on other foods.
Reducing food waste
Find out how you can reduce food waste by viewing the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) top 10 tips.
Wash your raw fruit and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but may contain harmful bacteria and pesticides. They can become contaminated in a number of ways. Through contamination present in the soil, from water used for irrigation, organic fertilisers and after harvesting during storage or preparation. Eating contaminated food or juices made from the produce can lead to foodborne illness, often called 'food poisoning'.
For more information about Food Safety, you can visit the Food Standards Agency website.