The 4Cs of Food Hygiene

The four main things to remember for good food hygiene are the 4Cs!

Cleaning ● Cooking ● Chilling ● Cross-Contamination


Here we’ll take at look more closely at ‘cleaning’ and ‘cross-contamination’

  • Clean and disinfect food areas and equipment between tasks
  • Clear up food spillages straight away cleaning the surface thoroughly
  • Use cleaning and disinfection products that are suitable for the job following the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Disinfection products should meet the BS EN Standards (BS EN 1276 or BS EN 13697)
  • Dispose of food waste suitably
  • Promote a cleaning schedule

Disinfection – Chemical disinfectant or sanitiser, must meet officially recognised standards and should be used as instructed by the manufacturer. Disinfectants kill bacteria and should be used on a visibly clean surface. They do not work effectively if the surface is covered in grease or visible dirt. It is also important that you leave the product on the surface for the time specified in the instructions.

Detergents – Detergents clean the surface and remove grease, but they do not kill bacteria.

Cleaning Schedule – Your schedule should show what needs to be cleaned and disinfected, how often and cleaning procedures including storage and usage of cleaning chemicals.

Sanitisers – Sanitisers can be used to both clean and disinfect as part of a two-stage approach. First use the sanitiser to clean the surface, removing any dirt/food/grease. Re-apply to the visibly clean surface and leave for the required time to disinfect the surface.


Cross-contamination is when bacteria is spread between food, surfaces or equipment.

Cross-contamination is one of the most common causes of food poisoning.

To avoid cross-contamination you should:

  • Clean and disinfect work surfaces, chopping boards and equipment thoroughly before and after you prepare food
  • Use different equipment (including chopping boards and knives) for raw meat/poultry and ready-to-eat food unless they can be heat disinfected in, for example, a commercial dishwasher
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching raw food
  • Always keep raw and ready-to-eat food separate
  • Provide suitable food preparation clothing for staff
  • If raw and ready-to-eat food need to be handled in the same preparation area, ensure the area is thoroughly disinfected in between
  • Use separate machinery and equipment if possible otherwise ensure they are thoroughly disinfected between uses
  • Use separate cleaning materials, including cloths, sponges and mops
  • Make sure that your staff know how to avoid cross-contamination

Poor hygiene is one of the most common reasons food businesses are prosecuted!

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