Food Preparation Hygiene

The kitchen is one of the most common areas in the home for bacteria to thrive. This can be dangerous for a developing baby.

Contracting toxoplasmosis, listeriosis or salmonella can be dangerous for the developing baby.
The kitchen is one of the most common areas in the home for bacteria to thrive. Even in the fridge, small colonies are constantly growing. Develop good habits now:

  • Always wash your hands when preparing food.
  • Wash cutting boards and utensils frequently in hot soapy water after cutting each type of food.
  • Keep your fridge clean and at a temperature below five degrees celsius.
  • Always store meats, poultry and seafood on lower shelves below other foods to avoid drips.
  • Keep uncooked meat covered.
  • Thoroughly cook all food from animals, including eggs.
  • Avoid all unpasteurised foods.
  • Wash uncooked vegetables and fruit carefully.
  • Use a fresh tea towel after each meal.
  • Replace dish cloths regularly.
  • Replace dishwashing brush regularly.
  • Wipe bench area clean frequently using a low-dilution of tea-tree oil (two drops in a sink full of hot water) as an alternative to bleach.


The bacteria Listeria monocytogenes causes the illness listeriosis, considered serious as it can be transferred to the foetus and at worst can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth. Sometimes listeriosis has no symptoms, however, it may manifest as flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhoea or more serious symptoms such as meningitis or blood poisoning.

Listeria grows in the fridge. Do not eat foods that have been stored in the fridge for more than 12 hours. In other words, avoid leftovers and eat only freshly cooked or prepared food and avoid foods that are past their use-by date. If you are in doubt, throw it out.

Avoid high-risk foods including:

  • Pate
  • Smoked seafood
  • Soft or gourmet cheeses such as ricotta, camembert, cottage, blue vein, danish blue, stilton
  • Unpasteurised cheeses
  • Soft serve ice-cream
  • Cold cooked chicken
  • Cold meats
  • Store bought salads
  • Salads prepared more than 12 hours ago
  • Raw seafood including sashimi, sushi and oysters


Humans can contract this parasitic disease by eating uncooked or under-cooked meats, unpasteurised goat, cow and sheep products, or by coming into contact with the faeces of dogs and cats or kittens. If it crosses the placenta during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, it can cause blindness in the baby. Few people show symptoms although sometimes a rash, fever, enlarged lymph nodes and glands may be evident.


Salmonella can cause food poisoning and gastroenteritis. Infection can be traced to meat, eggs, chicken and fish. The major symptoms are vomiting and diarrhoea, shivering and fever. If the infection progresses to the bloodstream, antibiotics are prescribed. Otherwise a fluid-only diet is prescribed.

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