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5 Guides To Safer Food


Safe food preparation is crucial to avoid food borne illness especially food poisoning episode.

Factors that contribute to food poisoning are :

  1. Food which is contaminated with micro-organisms from :

  • faeces
  • soil
  • water
  • rats, mice
  • insects and pests
  • domestic farm animals
  • humans, through their hands.
  1. Micro-organism are able to grow and multiple in your foods. To multiply, micro-organisms need :

  • food
  • water
  • time
  • suitable temperature.
  1. Your hand is one of the common means of transferring micro-organisms from one place to another.

Hence, food poisoning can be avoided by practicing the 5 guides to safer food.


The symptoms for food poisoning are :

  • stomach pains
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea.

The symptoms may occur very quickly after eating the food, or symptoms occur 24-72 hours after the food has been eaten.

Foodborne disease can lead to long term health problems. Very severe diseases can be caused by contaminated food including :

  • cancer
  • arthritis
  • neurological disorders.

Food poisoning should not be taken lightly because it may cause death.


1. Keep Clean

What should you do?

  • Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation.

  • Wash your hands after going to the toilet.

  • Wash and sanitize all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation properly.

  • Protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests and other animals.

7 Steps To Wash Your Hands


While most micro-organisms do not cause disease, dangerous micro-organisms are widely found in :

  • soil

  • water

  • animals

  • people.

These micro-organism are carried on :

  • hands

  • wiping cloths

  • utensils, especially cutting boards.

The slightest contact can transfer them to food and cause food borne diseases.


2. Separate Raw and Cooked Food

What should you do?

  • Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from cooked foods or other foods consumed raw such as salad or cut fruits.

  • Use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods.

  • Store food in covered containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods.


Raw food, especially meat, poultry and seafood, and their juices may contain dangerous micro-organisms which may be transferred onto other foods during food preparation and storage.

3. Cook Thoroughly

What should you do?

  • Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, egg and seafood.

  • Bring foods like soups and stews to boiling. For meat and poultry, make sure that juices are clear, not pink.

  • Reheat cooked food thoroughly.

  • Cook minced meat, rolled roasts large joints of meat and whole poultry thoroughly.


  • Proper cooking kills almost all dangerous micro-organisms.

    • Studies have shown that cooking food to a temperature of 70°C can help to ensure it is safe for consumption.

4. Keep Food At Safe Temperature

What should you do?

  • Refrigerate promptly all cooked and perishable food (preferably 5°C).

  • Keep cooked food piping hot (above 60°C prior to serving).

  • Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

  • Do not store leftover food in the refrigerator for longer than 3 days.

  • Do not thaw frozen food at room temperature.


  • Micro-organisms can multiply very quickly in food stored at room temperatures. The growth of micro-organisms is slowed down below 5°C or above 60°C.

  • Some dangerous micro-organisms still grow below 5°C.

5. Use Safe Water and Raw Materials

What should you do?

  • Use safe water or treat it to make it safe.

  • Select fresh and wholesome foods.

  • Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw

  • Wash and peel fruits.

  • Do not use food beyond its expiry date.


  • Raw materials, including water and ice, may be contaminated with dangerous microorganisms and chemicals.

  • Toxic chemicals may be formed in damaged and mouldy foods.

5 Guide To Safer Food

References :

  1. Five keys to safer foods. 2006. Department of food safety, zoonoses and foodborne diseases. World Health Organization.
  2. Lima Panduan Makanan Yang Selamat, Bahagian Keselamatan dan Kualiti Makanan, Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia, 2011.
  3. J. Schlundt(1), H. Toyofuku (2), J. Jansen (2) & S.A. Herbst(3) Emerging food borne zoonoses. Journal of Revision Science and Technology of Epidemiology. 2004. 513-533.
  4. Ana Maruši?. Food safety and security: what were favourite topics for research in the last decade?. Journal of Global Health. 2011.72-78.
Last reviewed : 22 January 2014
Translator : Mr. Mohd Nurul Haryadie bin Mazuki