safefood highlights food hygiene risks in the home at this year’s Balmoral Show

60% of sinks and drainers contain raw meat bacteria [1]

54% of consumers do not thoroughly wash their chopping board after preparing raw meat [1]

May 12, 2010. safefood today reminded consumers to keep food safety on the menu by highlighting poor food hygiene practices common in the home. A recent study revealed that raw meat bacteria was detected on 60% of sinks and drainers, on 36.7% of taps and on 43.3% of kitchen worktops while consumers were preparing a meal [1].

As the Balmoral Show begins, safefood is urging consumers to ensure that they wash their hands thoroughly after touching raw meat and poultry, handling pets or animals, and before preparing foods. It is also of vital importance that all kitchen utensils, including chopping boards and knives are properly cleaned after coming into contact with raw meat and poultry to avoid additional risks of cross contamination in the kitchen.  

Sarah Hennessy and Andrew Castles at Balmoral Show




Sarah Hennessy and Andrew Castles from safefood shine a light on food hygiene risks in the home at this year’s Balmoral Show.





Dr. Gary Kearney, Director Food Science, safefood added: “Our recent research has highlighted how easy it is for cross contamination to take place in a kitchen environment. Many consumers wash raw meat and poultry under the tap, but this is inadvisable as it can spread germs from the raw food nearly 3 feet from the sink through the splashes this creates [2].

We want to strongly advise consumers about the importance of preventing cross contamination in the kitchen, by suggesting easy steps to avoid the spread of bacteria such as E. coli and Campylobacter which can cause food poisoning.

The message is simple: always wash hands in warm, soapy water after handling raw meat or chicken; always wash utensils such as knives and chopping boards thoroughly after use with raw meat and chicken and before reuse with ready to eat foods such as salads; always cook chicken and minced meat thoroughly until piping hot all the way through with no pink meat remaining and the juices running clear.”  

politician and the public at the Balmoral Show

With 94% of consumers in Northern Ireland recognising the importance of avoiding the spread of bacteria from raw food to kitchen surfaces and utensils, safefood is urging consumers to visit its interactive stand at this year’s Balmoral Show to find out more. The stand offers consumers the chance to pop along with their families to learn “first hand” about food safety risks, witness how cross contamination can easily occur in a demonstration kitchen and learn about how these risks can be avoided. The interactive safefood stand will be at the King’s Hall in Belfast from 12th-14th May.

For more information on food safety in the home, please contact the safefood helpline on 0800 085 1683 (NI).


For further information please contact:

Claire Hutchinson/ Sarah Eakin at Smarts

Telephone: 028 9039 5500

Email: /

Editors Notes

  1. Identification of Critical Control Points during Domestic Food Preparation”, University College Dublin and the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, 2008
  2. FSA report no: B20004, 2005