Habits for Good Food Hygiene

Maintaining good food hygiene is crucial for preserving food and preventing food poisoning. What should you take into account? In this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know.
Habits for Good Food Hygiene
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

It’s essential to take care of food hygiene to prevent food deterioration and possible intoxication. By taking good care of the conservation and handling the products correctly, we ensure that they don’t lose flavor during the processes. Learn and apply these habits for good food hygiene to ensure safe, quality meals in your kitchen!

In addition, by doing this we prevent the growth of pathogenic microorganisms that could cause diseases in the digestive tract. What should you take into account? Keep reading to find out.

How to maintain good food hygiene: 6 habits

We’re going to tell you which are the most important habits to preserve the quality and hygiene of food.

1. Cleaning

We have to take care of the cleanliness of the products and the utensils to be used during handling. Therefore, you should wash your hands before coming into contact with food.

You should also clean knives and cutlery very well, and it’s best if they’re washed in hot water to eliminate food remains and possible bacteria.

A woman washing dishes.
Adequate hygiene of kitchen utensils is a determining factor in maintaining food safety.

2. Cooking

Another important factor when we talk about food hygiene is the cooking itself. High temperatures help improve the taste of the food, and eliminate the bacteria and pathogenic organisms that are in them.

As detailed in a publication in the medical journal Epidemiology and Infection, chefs use heat in industry to improve food preservation, and cooking itself can perfectly fulfill this function.

However, you must be careful when reheating food. Once again, it’s more than enough to ensure that the product doesn’t lose quality and to prevent possible bacteria or organisms that have been left in a latent state of growing.

Another critical point is cooking meat. The tendency to leave them somewhat raw inside can be dangerous if the quality or origin of the meat isn’t too safe.

Chicken, turkey or minced red meat should be cooked perfectly and shouldn’t be red inside. This way, we ensure the perfect food safety of our meals.

3. Cold storage

A critical point in food hygiene is food preservation. This must always be done at low temperatures when dealing with perishable foods or those with microbiological risk.

Freezing helps to eliminate certain pathogenic organisms such as anisakis from fish. In any case, simply conserving food in the fridge notably improves its useful life and reduces the risk.

We have to take into account that, when thawing the products, specialists suggest never leaving them at room temperature. This way, the best way to carry out this process is in the refrigerator itself. We can also avoid the growth of organisms that have become dormant in the food and prevent intoxication.

Woman looking in the fridge.
There are certain foods that have biological risk; therefore, specialists recommend certain adequate conservation methods such as freezing.

4. Careful with sauces

Sauces are products that usually cause problems in regards to food hygiene. Their conservation is usually a delicate process that isn’t always carried out correctly. You should never leave a sauce at room temperature, much less if it contains certain ingredients such as egg or tomato.

They’re usually an ideal breeding ground for the growth of bacteria that can be harmful to humans. For this reason, we recommend keeping sauces in the refrigerator at a low temperature and not consuming sauce left in open jars after 3 days.

Every year, people have salmonella or botulism poisoning due to incorrect sauce preservation practices, as stated in a study published in the journal Poultry Science.

5. Don’t mix food

In the conservation process, it’s very important to keep raw food separate from cooked food. Otherwise bacteria could migrate and contaminate the culinary preparations and cause problems.

It’s a good idea to store the food in containers with lids to avoid possible contamination. In addition, this will improve their conservation and avoid the loss of flavor or smell.

6. Each shelf of the refrigerator has its purpose

Refrigerators usually have different shelves and drawers to store different types of food. How we can distribute the food is usually represented by illustrations in the fridge, and corresponds to the way of distributing the cold throughout the cabin.

Respecting these indications will improve food conservation, since you can’t store everything under the same conditions of humidity and temperature.

Drawers, for example, are to store vegetables and fruit or fresh food. The first shelves, however, are usually more suitable for dairy products.

Maintain proper food hygiene to improve health

With all these key tips, you can ensure proper food hygiene that’ll help prevent possible poisoning due to ingesting food in poor condition. In addition, you’ll improve the palatability of your canned products. What are you waiting for?

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  •  Milazzo A., Giles LC., Zhang Y., Koehler AP., Hiller JE., Bi P., The effect of temperature on different salmonella serotypes during warm seasons in a mediterranean climate city, Adelaide, Australia. Epidemiol Infect, 2016. 144(6): 1231-40.
  • Rehkopf AC., Byrd JA., Coufal CD., Duong T., Advanced oxidation process sanitization of hatching eggs reduces salmonella in broiler chicks. Poult Sci, 2017. 96 (10): 3709-3716.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.