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Busy Bee – Stay Clean and Safe in the Kitchen
The kitchen is a central gathering place in every home, where families can come together to cook, eat and enjoy each others company. However, it can also be a place that harbors many dangers, from fires, to cuts and burns, to bacteria and illnesses. There are many aspects of kitchen safety that are important for all family members to learn. Knowing proper food handling can prevent cross contamination and foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella. Proper maintenance and cleaning of kitchen equipment and appliances can prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and reduce fire hazards. It is important to know how to work safely in a kitchen and how to properly maintain all of its areas in order to reduce these dangers. Below is a list of helpful tips and information to help you keep a clean and safe kitchen in order to keep your entire family safe and healthy.
- Always wash your hands before handling food, moving between tasks, after coughing and sneezing and before eating to prevent the spread of bacteria and disease-causing germs.
- Avoid wearing loose fitting clothes in the kitchen, as they can get caught in appliances or catch fire when cooking.
- When you prepare food in the kitchen, always tie your hair back or wear a hair net.
- Remove all jewelry before working with food, as earrings and rings can potentially fall into the food you are preparing.
- Always properly bandage cuts and wounds to prevent them from coming into contact with food.
- Mix 3/4 cup bleach with one gallon of water and soak sponges for 5 minutes to sanitize and kill 99.9% of disease causing bacteria.
- Avoid leaving sponges on countertops as they will take longer to dry and can spread harmful bacteria to work surfaces. Use a sponge caddy to allow fast and proper drying.
- Replace sponges frequently as bacteria can build up very quickly.
- When using cutting boards, prepare fruits and vegetables before meats or use a designated cutting board for meats and another for fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid using the same knives and utensils to prepare raw and ready to eat foods. Always thoroughly wash utensils in between tasks to avoid possible cross contamination.
- Always wash cutting boards after each use and allow it to completely dry before using it again.
Proper Food Handling
- Wash all fruits and vegetables to rid of dirt, pesticide residue and to reduce the amount of harmful microbes.
- Avoid keeping foods in the temperature danger zone, which is between 40°F and 140°F, to avoid bacteria growth and foodborne illnesses.
- Always wash hands thoroughly, use food safe gloves or utensils when handling ready to eat foods to avoid spreading germs and bacteria.
Proper Food Storage
- Always check to make sure that your refrigerator and freezer is operating properly and creating uniform temperatures to keep foods fresh.
- Assure that food items are properly sealed, labeled and dated before freezing to ensure freshness and safety.
- Never thaw frozen items at room temperature, which is in the temperature danger zone. Thaw food in the refrigerator or by placing it under cold running water.
- Store cooked foods above raw foods in the refrigerator to avoid raw meat juices from dripping onto ready to eat foods.
- Prior to each shopping trip, check the expiration dates of the foods in your refrigerator to see what needs to be replaced.
Proper Chemical/Cleaning Supply Storage
- Never store cleaning supplies and household chemicals in the same cabinets or cupboards as food.
- Always put cleaning supplies out of the reach of children, or put locks on cabinet doors so that children cannot access the chemicals.
- Go through your cleaning supplies and household chemicals once a month and properly dispose of containers that are leaking or have ruptured.
- Never leave a child unattended in a kitchen, even if the child seems to be secured with straps in a highchair.
- Put locks on all cabinets that are accessible to children.
- Buy a garbage can with a lid that latches, or put the garbage can in a cupboard with a lock on it where children cannot access it.
- Teach children to stay away from the oven at all times.
- When cooking with pots and pans on the stove, never leave the handle sticking out in a way that children can get at it.
- Clean all of the appliances in your kitchen at least once a month.
- Remove the crumbs from your toaster to prevent fire hazards.
- Wipe down the interior of your refrigerator with a disinfectant to get rid of bacteria and other potential disease-causing debris.
- Clean off the top of your stove after each use to remove grease and other spills to avoid potential fire hazards.
- Use a safe cleaner to clean the inside of your oven.
- To prevent fires, Routinely check the burners on your stove to see if they need to be replaced.
Last modified: April 9, 2018