Food safety advice when purchasing food

When out shopping there are important rules to follow to ensure that the quality and safety of the food you buy is maintained.

Food producers and sellers have to follow food safety laws, but after you purchase food it is your responsibility to keep it safe.

Follow these rules when purchasing food:

  • Check labels – Always check the use by date or best before date on food labels. This will reduce the risk of perishable foods causing food poisoning.
  • Check temperatures – check the temperature of chilled (below 4°C) and frozen cabinets (below -18°C) and ensure they are not overloaded.
  • Organise your shopping trip – minimise the time food spends in the danger zone. Always select your frozen or chilled foods towards the end of your shopping trip and pack these away from any hot food.
  • Take care when transporting your foods home – put chilled or frozen foods away immediately to prevent them from defrosting or spoiling. If you are more than 30 minutes away from the shop then bring a cool bag to keep them cool.
  • Do not buy any cans or packets that have been opened or damaged – food contamination or spoilage may have occurred.
  • Avoid cross-contamination – do not buy products from counters where raw and cooked foods are displayed together as this could increase the risk of cross-contamination. When packing foods in the trolley or in bags, ensure raw meats are kept separate from raw foods such as fruit and vegetables to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Observe personal hygiene of staff – do not purchase food if personal hygiene standards are not high from the staff serving or handling it. Report any unhygienic practices to the Environmental Health Department.