Food hygiene is the practice of properly chilling, cooking, cleaning food and avoiding cross-contamination to prevent the spread of bacteria in food. Improper food hygiene when handling raw food may lead to food poisoning.
According to the Food Standards Agency, the group charged with protecting the public in the United Kingdom with regard to food, avoiding cross-contamination between raw and ready-to-eat food is one of the most important aspects of food hygiene. Separate knives and cutting boards must be used for the different foods. Raw food must be stored below other food in the refrigerator to prevent drips that could contain bacteria. Food must be chilled to the proper temperature at all times and must be cooked to a temperature that kills bacteria. Disinfecting food preparation areas and cleaning used equipment also are important food hygiene practices.