Keeping a kitchen clean and sanitary will not only make the house look better for those holiday parties, but it can improve the quality of health for families and their dinner guests.
David Shelburne, MD, family medicine, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and the CDC suggest the following health tips to keep every kitchen safe for family and friends all year long.
Hands should be washed in warm water with soap at several points while a meal is being made, especially after working with raw items such as meat and eggs.
Two is Better Than One
Use two or more cutting boards to prevent cross contamination and the spread of harmful bacteria.
According to the Home Food Safety (HFS), part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “when juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects accidentally touch cooked or ready-to-eat foods (such as fruits or salads), cross-contamination occurs.” Color-coding cutting boards and selecting specific utensils like ladles and flippers for meats and veggies will help to eliminate this issue.
To clean off a cutting board or any other item that has been used for meat, wash the board in hot water with soap. As an extra precaution, wipe the board down with a chlorine bleach solution and rinse with water.
Do Not Sip and Save
Contents or liquid items can become contaminated by drinking out of the carton or bottle and placing it back in the fridge. This introduces new bacteria that may grow as it sits.
Do Not Overload Your Fridge
Jamming the fridge full of food actually prevents the circulation of cold air that keeps food items cold and slows the growth of bacteria.
Leftover food should be reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit in order to kill harmful bacteria.
Frozen items like meat should be defrosted in the refrigerator or in the microwave. When defrosting the item in the fridge, make sure to place it on a bottom shelf so juices don’t drip onto other foods. If the item has already been microwaved, make sure to cook it immediately.