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Safe Food Handling

What is safe food?

Safe foods are foods that are free from contamination. Safe food handling is important to prevent food poisoning.

Key facts

  • Most people carry food poisoning bacteria at one time or another
  • Food poisoning bacteria are found in human’s nostril, mouth, hands, intestine and infected wound/cuts
  • Food poisoning bacteria can be spread by persons handling food through sneezing, coughing onto the food and direct contact with food
  • Many food poisoning outbreak arise from contamination during food preparation by persons handling food

What should I do to ensure safe food handling?

You should:

  • Maintain good personal hygiene
  • Wash hands properly especially:
    • After going to toilet
    • After handling food waste
    • After eating, smoking or blowing the nose
    • After handling raw and before handling cooked food
  • Keep fingernails clean and short at all time
  • Wear clean clothes/attire and head cover
  • Cover wound/cut with waterproof dressing
  • Remove all jewelery including watches, rings, and bracelets before preparing food
  • Practice good habits when handling food
  • Use spoon, fork or tong to handle cooked food
  • Use separate cloth/towel for wiping hands, table and utensil
  • Use separate chopping board for raw and cooked food

You should not:

  • Spit, clean your nose or ears during food preparation
  • Eat, smoke or chew chewing gum or betel leave during food preparation
  • Cough or sneeze onto the food
  • Touch the inner surface of plates, cup and glasses when serving food.
  • Lick fingers while handling food
  • Scratch your head while handling food
  • Blow into plastic bags, wrapper of packages used for food or drink
  • Taste food with fingers or unwashed spoon
  • Use bare hands to handle cooked food
  • Use printed material (newspaper) for food packaging
  • Use broken, cracked or defective equipment or crockery to serve food


Last reviewed : 19 April 2012
Writer : Dr. A’aisah bt. Senin
Norrani bt. Eksan