In most households, the kitchen is probably the busiest and most important part of the house.
Ensuring proper hygiene in the kitchen when cleaning, preparing, cooking, and storing food is critical in order to prevent food-borne illnesses including diarrhea, E coli, hepatitis A, gastroenteritis, and salmonella poisoning.
Tips on how to handle food safely and hygienically
1. Wash your hands
Many illnesses are spread from person to person when someone doesn’t wash their hands before and after handling any cooked or raw food.
Use a gentle soap and lukewarm water and scrub your hands – especially in between fingers and under fingernails – for at least 20 seconds.
Rinse well and use a clean paper towel to dry your hands.
2. Keep the kitchen clean
Wipe up food spills on the floor immediately they occur and clean splatters and grease spills from the stove-top after each use.
Wash and disinfect cleaning sponges and dishcloths and change dishcloths and sponges every few months especially if they continue to smell bad despite disinfecting.
Keep food preparation surfaces clean by sanitizing kitchen surfaces and cutting boards. Do not leave any dirty dishes in the sink, wash them after use in hot soapy water.
Remember to wash the cleanest dishes first, and then the messiest dishes last, so you don’t have to change the dishwater as often. Take out the trash to avoid bad smells and cockroaches
3. Clean the refrigerator and microwave
Wipe off any spills inside the fridge or microwave immediately they occur.
Wipe the inside of the fridge or microwave every 1–2 days using a hot water and vinegar solution and wipe the door handles with disinfectant
4. Clean fresh produce
Clean fruits and vegetables that have thick skins with a vegetable brush to scrub away harmful microbes.
Vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower should be soaked in water for about two minutes before cleaning.
To clean leafy greens, soak them in a large bowl of cool water or a solution of water and vinegar for about five minutes before rinsing them in running water before storing them appropriately in the fridge.
5. Handle raw meat with caution
When shopping separate raw meat, seafood, and poultry from other items in your shopping cart, grocery bags, and the fridge.
Also designate a cutting board just for these items to avoid cross-contamination with fruits and veggies.
6. Protect yourself
Wear a clean apron and closed shoes to protect yourself, in case of hot spills or breakages.
Cover and tie back long hair to avoid it catching fire when you bend over an open fire. Handle knives and other sharp equipment with care.
When using a knife, always cut away from yourself or downwards on a chopping board to avoid cutting yourself.
Use oven mittens when taking hot dishes from the oven or microwave. Turn handles of saucepans away from the front of the stove when cooking to protect yourself from any spills if you accidentally run into them.
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