Monday, May 31, 2004

Be your own kitchen inspector



Gannett News Service

The food industry has government inspectors to help police its food preparation, but food-borne pathogens that can make you sick don't know the difference between a kitchen in a restaurant or in your home.

Here are some things you can do to keep your home cooking safe:

• Wash hands for 20 seconds in warm water and with liquid soap after touching raw meat or poultry. Washing will reduce the possibility of transferring pathogens to other foods that may be served uncooked.

• Wash down food preparation areas with a commercial kitchen cleaning agent or a solution of one teaspoon chlorine bleach and a quart of water.

• Wash dishcloths and sponges in hot water in the washing machine once a week to get rid of bacteria.

• Periodically pour a commercial kitchen cleaning agent or a solution of one teaspoon chlorine bleach and a quart of water down the kitchen sink drain to kill bacteria from food particles trapped in the drain or disposal.

• Use cutting boards made of plastic or hard maple that do not have cracks or crevices where crumbs or meat juices might get trapped. Wash boards with hot water, soap and a scrub brush. Sanitize them in the dishwasher or use the bleach solution described above. Always wash and sanitize cutting boards after using them for raw food, especially meats, seafood and poultry.

• Use clean utensils and wash them in between using them to cut different foods.

• Clean the blade of a can opener immediately after each use. Food processors and meat grinders also should be taken apart and cleaned immediately after being used.

• Keep cooked meat off the same plate used for raw meat.

• Wash fresh fruits and vegetables in warm water, using a small brush if needed to remove dirt.

Source: Food and Drug Administration




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