Food safety and your baby
Babies' immune systems are less developed than adults. For this reason you must take extra care when preparing food for babies and young children.
Babies - food preparation guidelines
- Ensure you have good personal hygiene standards to keep bacteria (germs) at bay – wash your hands thoroughly before preparing foods and especially after handling raw food and before handling cooked food, after going to the toilet and after handling pets. Use liquid anti-bacterial soap where possible.
- Wipe high chairs and eating areas with an anti-bacterial sanitizer before and after every meal.
- Keep kitchen surfaces clean – clean worktops and utensils after use and between handling raw and cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Use an anti-bacterial sanitizer.
- Store food in a fridge between 0-5°C/32-41°F and use within 48 hours.
- Change kitchen cloths and kitchen towels daily or more often if dirty.
- Teach your children to wash their hands after visiting the toilet or touching pets.
- Defrost frozen ingredients thoroughly - unless stated on the labels.
- Cook foods thoroughly, until piping hot, then allow to cool until comfortable to eat.
- Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Never leave food standing around. If you reheat food also make sure it is piping hot. Never reheat food more than once.
- Don’t cook foods too far in advance as this can allow the growth of bacteria if kept at room temperature.
- Cook eggs until white and yolk are solid, or use pasteurized egg products.
Food storage tips
- Store food safely – put chilled and frozen food away as soon as you can.
- Prepare and store raw and cooked food separately - keep raw and uncooked food (especially meat and fish) at the bottom of your fridge in a covered container. Never put cooked food on a plate that has been used for raw meat or poultry. Don't leave food out or uncovered.
- Control food temperatures – keep the coldest part of your fridge between 32-41°F (use a fridge thermometer).
- Always follow instructions on cooking times and temperatures
- Throw away any uneaten foods
Tips for using ready made foods
- Check date marks - you must follow the use-by dates
- Check safety seals are intact when first opening food packaging
- Read labels and carefully follow all instructions on storage, preparation and cooking times and temperatures
- Never leave foods in open cans.
Babies' immune systems are less developed than adults'. That puts them at greater risk of illness so take extra care:
- For young babies, wash bottles with detergent in hot water, and then sterilize using sterilizing solution or a steam sterilizer.
- Always use cooled, boiled water when adding water to baby foods, milks and other drinks.
- Cook foods thoroughly until piping hot and cool rapidly until comfortable to eat.
Other Useful Tips
- Keep pets away from food and worktops.
- Prevent flies and other insects coming in contact with foods – keep them covered.
- Keep cleaning chemicals out of reach of children.
If you have any questions concerning food safety and your baby please do not hesitate to contact the Department of Environmental Health on 949 6696.
Last Updated: 2006-02-09