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Advice on cooking at home safely

If you are planning to cater for large numbers of people from home, or you are having a picnic or a barbecue, the following advice will help you prepare food.

Privately catering for large numbers of people is a big responsibility. The food hazards involved need to be considered carefully.

If you don't plan and think seriously about food safety when preparing and storing large amounts of food, you will increase the risk of food poisoning. You should only do it if you are certain you can do so safely.

If you are catering for a large function from your own home and wish further advice, contact us.

Top tips for food safety

  1. Transport chilled and frozen food home and place it in the fridge or freezer as quickly as possible.
  2. Prepare and store raw food and cooked food separately. Keep raw meat and fish at the bottom of your fridge below ready to eat foods.
  3. Keep the coldest part of your fridge at 0 to 5 degrees centigrade. Getting a fridge thermometer will help you check this.
  4. Check 'use by' dates and only use food within the recommended period.
  5. Keep pets away. Do not allow pets into the kitchen when preparing food.
  6. Always wash your hands thoroughly. Wash hands especially before preparing food, after going to the toilet, handling pets and after handling raw meat, fish, vegetables and salad items.
  7. Keep your kitchen clean. Clean as you go and remember to disinfect surfaces before you begin work, after handling raw meat and vegetables, and when you finish work.
  8. Avoid using raw eggs in uncooked or lightly cooked foods such as homemade mayonnaise, mousse or cake icing. Use pasteurised eggs instead.
  9. Cook food thoroughly. Always follow the instructions if provided. If you re-heat, make sure it is piping hot.
  10. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Do not let them sit at room temperature for prolonged periods.
  11. Consider allergens. Make sure you know what ingredients are in the food, especially if they include any of the 14 allergens which are listed in food law.  Consider asking friends who may have food allergies or intolerances to bring their own food.
  12. Ensure that all waste food is disposed of carefully to prevent attracting pests.

Food Standards Agency advice

For more information on private catering, the Food Standards Agency provides the following advice:

Contact details

For further information about food safety and private catering, contact us using the details below.


Phone: 023 8028 5411

Food and Safety Team
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
SO43 7PA

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