MORE than 80pc of consumers have at least one poor kitchen habit that puts them at risk of food poisoning, according to a survey.
The poll found that 43pc would eat food after the "use by" date, 29pc would eat food that has been dropped on the floor, and more than a third (36pc) wash chicken before cooking it, potentially splashing bacteria around the kitchen.
The study also found that 35pc of people do not check "use by" dates, with 85pc of this group preferring to sniff food to decide if it is safe and 68pc looking at its colour.
Unlike "best before" dates, "use by" dates relate to safety and are based on scientific testing.
More than a fifth of those questioned (21pc) said they do not wash their hands properly before preparing food.
While 83pc admitted to one or more habits when cooking at home that could put them at risk of food poisoning, the same percentage said they have confidence in their food hygiene all or most of the time and 93pc believe they have never given family or friends food poisoning.
If they do fall ill themselves, only 5pc consider whether the cleanliness of their own kitchen is the cause.
The poll was conducted for the British Food Standards Agency
It's food safety expert Bob Martin said: "By not washing their hands before preparing food at home, or ignoring 'use by' dates, people could be setting themselves and their friends or family up for a bout of really unpleasant illness."