Food hygiene - the 4 main areas to focus on

children baking

Food hygiene - the 4 main areas to focus on

Commonly called the 4 Cs, as long as these 4 Cs are being attended to appropriately, the chances of anyone contracting a food-related illness from food prepared in your kitchen/Early Years setting will be reduced to almost zero:

  1. Chilling. Bacteria, the tiny organisms that cause food poisoning, grow and multiply much slower if they are kept below 8°C and even better, 5°C. Hot food should be cooled as fast as possible and then put into the fridge without delay. All frozen food should be kept at a minimum temperature of -18°C to ensure any bacteria are totally dormant.

  2. Cleaning. Effective cleaning significantly reduces the chance of bacteria that can cause food poisoning multiplying in your kitchen. Regular cleaning of all surfaces, chopping boards, work areas and so forth will reduce the risk of bacterial growth. It sounds so simple, but effective handwashing is also one of the best protections against bacterial infestation.

  3. Cooking. Ensure the food you prepare is always cooked to the correct temperature (usually 75°C or over). If you are keeping food warm, it should remain above 63°C at all times.

  4. Cross-contamination. Direct contamination is when potentially contaminated food (such as raw chicken) comes into contact with other food. Indirect contamination is when bacteria is spread through accidental contact.

The simplest and easiest way to stay safe when it comes to food hygiene is to train all staff who might come into contact with food in any capacity. Legally, anyone classed as a food handler is expected to be suitably trained. In practice, this means anyone who comes into contact with food in your early years setting is expected to have an appropriate knowledge of food hygiene.

Even more important than any legal or practical reasons to take food hygiene training is the benefit of promoting a proactive approach. If everyone on your team is able to spot and solve a potential food hygiene or safety problem, the chances of an incident occurring should be very small indeed.

The best defences against food safety issues are good processes, vigilance, knowledge and a proactive team. Food hygiene training will help you to achieve all of this. With these measures in place, you should be secure in the knowledge that your early years setting is as safe as possible when it comes to food hygiene. And remember, an Environmental Health Officer will need to see all current food hygiene certificates during an inspection, clearly labelled with staff names and the date your training was completed.

How can I access training?

Morton Michel policyholders receive a 30% discount on all online food hygiene courses, including our Level 2 Food Hygiene & Safety for Early Years course. For more information on food hygiene training contact the Food Hygiene Company on 01327 552136, or via our online chat service at Our staff are available from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

The information in this article is provided by Food Hygiene Company and does not represent Morton Michel.