What are the Basic Food Hygiene Level 2 Rules?

Basic food hygiene rules

There are multiple basic food hygiene level 2 rules, which include:

  • Washing hands
  • Washing all food and vegetables
  • Storing food safely
  • Temperature controls
  • Throwing away contaminated food

These basic practices go a long way in protecting the public and ensuring legal compliance.

A level 2 food hygiene course is also known as basic food hygiene, as it covers all the general key points. As a result, it is a great starting point for potential food handlers. They should complete a level 2 food hygiene course together with a Level 2 HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) training course. HACCP is a system to identify hazards and prevent their effects.

Safe Food Handling Practices

Safe food handling measures, as included in a food hygiene level 2 course, are a vital legal requirement for all organisations. When preparing any item of food, a handler should follow them. This is because they protect the public from physical, chemical and biological hazards. Proper hygiene can prevent diseases like food poisoning and salmonella.

Washing Hands

The first thing you should do before all else is wash your hands. Use warm water and anti-bacterial soap to prevent any germs from getting onto the food. Make sure to dry your hands properly, as you do not want soap or dirty water on any item of food.

Proper hand washing practice is simple, but important. This is especially the case when handling high-risk foods like eggs and meat.

Washing Food

For items like fruit and vegetables, you should always wash them before use. This is because they may still have soil or dirt on them.

Some vegetables may have dirty outer layers which you can remove, and this is advisable.

Safe Food Storage

Safe food storage both in containers and the fridge can prevent cross contamination.

Fridges should be kept around or below 5 degrees Celsius,[1] to slow down the growth of harmful bacteria. To control this, use a thermometer to measure the temperature and lower/higher it accordingly. To extend the life of a food item, put it in a freezer at around -18 Celsius. If you want to use the food, defrost the item before doing so. Never put de-iced food back in the freezer.

When transferring food to another kitchen or organisation, store food in clean containers. Because food can be stored for quite a long time, it can easily be contaminated. Therefore, just double-check that all containers are clean before transit.

Temperature Control

Effective temperature control when cooking and cooling food can kill-off bacteria.

The critical temperature that food needs to reach to kill almost all bacteria is 75 degrees Celsius.[2] In the HACCP guidelines, this is called a critical limit. Remember, this is for the centre of an item. To measure the centre of food, you can use a temperature probe.

When cooked, hot food should be kept at around 63 degrees Celsius,[3] or it will be unsafe to eat.

Throwing Away Contaminated Food

If you spot some contaminated food, you should bin it immediately. Not only is it a public health risk, it will likely make news headlines.

Contamination can be physical, chemical or biological.[4] Physical items that can infect food include plasters, pests and hair. Biological hazards include bacteria which are the usual suspects of food poisoning. Common strains include salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter. Finally, chemical hazards can include household cleaning items like bleach that make their way onto food.

Although these things may not seem obvious at first, always check for signs of contamination. Remember: if in doubt, throw it out.

If someone can successfully demonstrate their ability to fulfil these rules, they will be rewarded with a level 2 food hygiene certificate.

You can view our online level 2 food hygiene course here.


[1] https://www.eufic.org/en/food-safety/article/safe-food-storage-at-home

[2] https://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/downloads/CookSafe_-_House_rules_-_Temperature_control_-_Guidance.pdf

[3] https://www.northdevon.gov.uk/business/food-hygiene-and-safety/food-safety-tips/temperature-control/

[4] http://seafoodhaccp.cornell.edu/Intro/blue_pdf/Chap02Blue.pdf