Dear food consumer,

Can you smell if your sponge is safe? Can you see if microbes are present on your hands or on surfaces that come in contact with food? Can you feel that inside your refrigerator is cold enough? Can you see if meat, molluscs and eggs are ready cooked? A lot of questions to answer, but a single answer to give: NO!

You may look to a food contact surface, but you will not know if it harbours pathogens or not. Professionals are making a distinction between visible clean surfaces (no visible dirt present on them) and hygienically clean surfaces (surfaces free of pathogens and with low numbers of other types of microorganisms). Understanding this difference will determine you to correctly apply cleaning procedures in your kitchen.

You may smell a sponge or a kitchen cloth, but even they do not smell unpleasant, they may harbor pathogens. To be sure that they are clean and do not spread pathogens around, you have to squeeze them to remove the water, so to hang to dry between uses, change them when used on soil or meat juices. Doing like this you will avoid cross-contaminating what they are touching.

You may touch the walls of your fridge or different food kept inside, but you cannot precisely feel that temperature is in the interval 0 - 4 °C. If your refrigerator does not have a display indicating the temperature, to measure how cold is inside your fridge you need a thermometer, a thermocouple or a temperature indicator. Performing like this you will know that your food is correctly chilled.

You may see the colour of meat, but it is better to appreciate the doneness of meat with a thermometer, also check that all surfaces of whole meat is cooked. Use time-temperature tables to be sure that the cooking times and temperatures you choose allow you to cook the meat properly.

SafeConsume project is giving advice to convince you to not rely on the fifth senses when storing, preparing and cooking food, but to help you in acquiring the food safety sense instead.