Prevent E.coli Contamination

Raw MeatGuidance is available for food businesses detailing the steps they need to take to control the risk of contamination from the food bug E.coli O157.

This guidance was developed in response to the serious outbreaks of E.coli O157 in Scotland in 1996 and Wales in 2005, which were attributed to cross-contamination arising from poor handling of food.

Many businesses will already be following the steps contained in the guidance, but it is intended to provide reassurance that they are doing everything they can to prevent cross-contamination.

Although E.coli is the key focus of this guidance, the measures outlined will also help in the control of other bacteria, such as campylobacter and salmonella.

Key measures

Some of the key measures highlighted in the guidance to control E.coli are:

  • Identification of separate work areas, surfaces and equipment for raw and ready-to-eat food
  • Use of separate complex equipment, such as vacuum-packing machines, slicers, and mincers for raw and ready-to-eat food
  • Handwashing should be carried out using a recognised technique. Anti-bacterial gels must not be used instead of thorough handwashing
  • Disinfectants and sanitisers must meet officially recognised standards and should be used as instructed by the manufacturer

Guidance and factsheet

The full guidance can be found below along with a factsheet for businesses, which summarises the guidance [S1] .

Visit the Food Standards Agency website for guidance on the control of cross contamination of E-Coli

E.coli factsheet 2011 [pdf] 130KB