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Prevent E Coli

Food businesses can access guidance detailing the steps they need to take to control the risk of contamination from the food bug, E.coli O157.

This guidance was developed in response to the serious outbreaks of E.coli O157 in Scotland in 1996 and Wales in 2005. These were both caused by cross-contamination due to poor food handling.

Many businesses will already be following the steps contained in the guidance. It is intended to provide reassurance that they are doing everything they can to prevent cross-contamination.

In addition to E.coli, the measures outlined in the guidance will also help in the control of other bacteria, such as campylobacter and salmonella.

Key measures

Some of the key measures highlighted in the guidance to control E.coli are:

  • Identifying separate work areas, surfaces and equipment for raw and ready-to-eat food;
  • Use of separate complex equipment, such as vacuum-packing machines, slicers, and mincers for raw and ready-to-eat food;
  • Handwashing should be carried out using a recognised technique. Anti-bacterial gels must not be used instead of thorough handwashing;
  • Disinfectants and sanitisers must meet officially recognised standards and should be used as instructed by the manufacturer.


Visit the Food Standards Agency website for guidance on the control of cross contamination of E-Coli.