Hygiene for food businesses

Cooking and chilling food


Cooking and chilling are both essential to:

  • make sure the food you serve in your food business is safe to eat
  • prevent food poisoning

Cooking food in your food business

Thorough cooking at the correct temperature kills harmful bacteria in food. You should never serve any food that isn't fully cooked. You should serve cooked food immediately or keep it hot until serving. If you're cooking food in advance, cool and chill it quickly.

It is important to make sure that you fully cook:

  • poultry
  • pork
  • rolled joints
  • products made from minced meat, such as burgers and sausages

This is because there could be bacteria in the middle of these types of food products. You should not serve these foods pink or rare. you should serve them steaming hot all the way through. Whole cuts of beef and lamb, such as steaks, cutlets and whole joints, can be served pink or rare as long as they are fully sealed on the outside.

Chilling food in your food business

Chilling food to the correct temperature stops bacteria from growing and multiplying. FSA recommends chilling food at 0-5 degrees Celsius, chilling food below 8 degrees Celsius is a legal requirement. You must keep some foods chilled to keep them safe. For example:

  • food with a 'use by' date
  • food that you have cooked and won't serve immediately
  • ready-to-eat food such as prepared salads

Guidelines for chilling food

You should always follow these guidelines for food chilling:

  • check chilled food on delivery to make sure it is cold enough
  • put food that needs to be chilled in the fridge straight away
  • cool cooked food as quickly as possible and then put in the fridge
  • keep chilled food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible during preparation
  • don't overload fridges
  • regularly check that your fridge and refrigerated display units are cold enough