healthy eating
Cleanliness is a major factor in preventing foodborne illness.

Many harmful germs can survive for several hours on kitchen surfaces.  Reduce your risk of illness by keeping cutting boards, countertops, utensils, dishcloths, and towels clean.  Frequently change sponges in the kitchen.  They tend to collect small food particles and are difficult to clean.

Use a weak chlorine bleach solution (2 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water) as a kitchen sanitizer.  You may want to keep a supply of this solution in a spray bottle near the sink.

Tips for a safe and sanitary kitchen

  • Always keep your refrigerator’s internal temperature at 41 degrees or below because bacteria can start to grow rapidly above that.
  • Do not depend solely upon your refrigerator’s thermostat to gage its internal temperature. Buy an independent, hanging thermometer for less than $5 and hang it inside your fridge to double-check the reading.
  • Never store raw meats, poultry or seafood above ready to eat food in your refrigerator because juices from these raw products can drip and contaminate them.  Always use the bottom shelf to house raw meats, poultry and seafood to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Do not store medications in kitchen cabinets above food preparation surfaces or leave them on counters where they can unintentionally find their way into the food you prepare.
  • Make sure cutting boards and wooden utensils are in good condition and cleaned properly after each use. Discard any cutting boards or wooden utensils that have nicks or gouges because they can harbor bacteria.
  • Sanitize cutting boards after every use by running them through the dishwasher or wiping them down with a quarter teaspoon of bleach to a quart of water; then wash them with warm water and soap.
  • Have two cutting boards of different colors and use one only to cut meats and the other only to chop fruits and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination with meat drippings.
  • Since meat can appear to be cooked without having reached the necessary temperature to kill off E coli, salmonella and other bacteria, always use a zero to 200 degree indicating thermometer when cooking beef, poultry or pork to assure that they are cooked thoroughly.
  • To avoid getting a food borne illness from undercooked meat, ground beef must reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees, poultry must be cooked to 165 degrees and pork to 160 degrees.