Pregnancy information

Food safety and hygiene

Keep your child safe from food bugs

Babies and young children are especially vulnerable to the bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Ensure your baby is not at risk as a result of food preparation and serving.

  • Always wash your hands well before preparing food and after touching raw meat, chicken, fish and shellfish, raw vegetables and eggs.
  • Check that your child's hands are clean before feeding.
  • Teach your children to wash their hands after touching pets and going to the toilet, and before eating.
  • Keep surfaces clean and keep any pets away from food or surfaces where food is prepared.
  • Thoroughly wash all bowls and spoons used for feeding in hot soapy water and keep chopping boards and utensils thoroughly clean.
  • Keep raw meats and eggs covered and away from other foods in the fridge including cooked or ready to eat meats – it’s best to store raw meats in clean covered containers at the bottom of the fridge to prevent any drips from falling on to other foods.
  • Cook all food thoroughly and cool it until lukewarm before giving it to your baby.
  • Don’t save and reuse foods that your child has half eaten.
  • Wash and peel fruit and vegetables such as apples and carrots.
  • Hens' eggs stamped with the British Lion mark, or produced under the "Laid in Britain" scheme, are fine for babies and children to have raw (for example, in homemade mayonnaise) or lightly cooked.
  • Avoid eating raw or lightly cooked shellfish. Children should only eat shellfish that has been thoroughly cooked.
  • Don’t give children food or drink when they’re sitting on the potty.

Storing and reheating food

  • Cool food as quickly as possible (ideally within one to two hours) and put it in the fridge or freezer. Food placed in the fridge should be eaten within two days.
  • Cool rice as quickly as possible (within 1 hour) and put it in the fridge or freezer. Rice placed in the fridge should be eaten within 24 hours and never reheated more than once.
  • Frozen food should be thoroughly defrosted before reheating. The safest way to do this is to leave it in the fridge overnight or use the defrost setting on a microwave.
  • When reheating food, make sure it’s steaming hot all the way through then let it cool down before giving it to your child. If you’re using a microwave, always stir the food and check the temperature before feeding it to your child. Don’t reheat cooked food more than once.
  • To cool food quickly, put it in an airtight container and hold it under a cold running tap. Stir it from time to time so that it cools consistently all the way through.

Remember you should always stay with your baby while they are eating, in case they choke.

Last Updated: 27/06/2023 11:09:05
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website