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Tips to Keep Your Kitchen Clean and Safe

Scott Monge

About 48 million people are affected by foodborne illness each year in the U.S., according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Germy kitchens increase the risk for several infections such as E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella and several other diseases and parasites. While the overall number of incidence of infection has decreased in recent years, the risk of contracting food poisoning is prevalent. Prevent food-related illness by using the following tips to keep your kitchen clean.

  • Everything starts with the fridge. Each week go through your refrigerator to remove old food and clean shelves and racks. Label containers of homemade food and leftovers so it’s easier to check expiration dates. And don’t forget to check all the condiments clustered in the door. Avoiding food rot is crucial as it leads to bacteria that can contaminate fresh food stored in the same area.
  • When slicing up veggies and meat, be sure to use separate chopping boards to reduce the spread of bacteria. For meat and poultry use extra care when cleansing the cutting boards.
  • Wipe your counters every day. Keep countertops free of too much clutter so it’s easier to wipe down. Use a separate cloth for surfaces than for dishes and change the cloth daily. Hand and dish towels also should be separate and changed regularly.
  • Monitor your trash and bin. Don’t let trash pile over the top of the can. Fallen rubbish can quickly spread germs and bacteria to your floor and other surfaces. Wash and disinfect your trash can once a week to limit germs and remove any foul odors.
  • Paper towels are best when cleaning up messes that are likely to cause contamination. Paper towels are easy to throw out and prevent further contamination when dealing with raw meat and eggs. Avoid sponges and rags in these instances.
  • Tend to your dirty dishes quickly. Dirty pots and pans left to pile up in the sink can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Wash dishes in hot water and soap as soon as you’re done using them.

Most families spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so keep your them safe by maintaining a clean area for food preparation. When cooking meals, keep in mind that infants and older adults are more vulnerable to foodborne illness, as their immune systems are typically not as strong. The CDC reports that 13 percent of infections, 24 percent of hospitalizations and 57 percent of deaths resulting from food-related illness occurred among adults over age 65. Nutrition is important and your kitchen should be one of the healthiest places in your home, so use care when preparing meals

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