Britons are putting themselves and their families at risk of food poisoning because of bad habits in the kitchen, BBC News reports.

Nearly half of the 1,000 adults questioned did not know to cook burgers and sausages until no pink remained.

The Food and Drink Federation also found that many people fail to replace the kitchen sponge – a breeding ground for germs – on a regular basis.

The survey, carried out for National Food Safety Week, found that 12% of people only change or disinfect their kitchen sponge once a month and 6% change it even less often.

Other survey results:

  • A third of people admit to eating food that is past its use-by date.
  • Nearly half did not know they needed to keep their fridge at 0C to 5C to store food safely.
  • And 16% store raw meat on the top shelf of the fridge and a further 8% would store it anywhere – risking the chance that juices could drip onto ready-to-eat foods below.
  • Around one in six admit to not always using separate chopping boards or only rinsing them in between chopping up raw meat and vegetables.
  • Four out of 10 respondents said they never removed jewellery before preparing food and of those with pets, 14% said they washed their pets bowls with their own washing-up – risking cross contamination.

Infectious disease costs the NHS 6 billion pounds per year and accounts for 35% of all family doctor consultations.