What room in your house harbors dangerous bacteria? If you guessed it’s just the bathroom, you would be wrong. It could also be your kitchen.
Consumer Reports has some great tips to ensure that your family stays safe from germs that find their way into the kitchen and could cause food poisoning.
Your hands are essential tools when working in the kitchen, but they can spread dangerous bacteria that can make people sick. Everything you touch—salt and pepper shakers, faucets, refrigerator handles—are common surfaces through which bacteria that can cause food poisoning can spread.
The key is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water anytime you switch tasks, cleaning between your fingers and under your nails.
Knives and other items that come into contact with raw meat should be washed with hot, soapy water after every use.
The juices that collect on cutting boards can contain E. coli and other dangerous bacteria that can make you seriously ill. Regularly wash them with hot soapy water. To get them really clean, use 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid bleach and a gallon of water. Rinse the surface, then air-dry or pat with clean paper towels.
Raw meats, poultry, and seafood that are stored in the upper shelves of your refrigerator can drip down and contaminate food stored below. So place them in sealed plastic bags or containers and keep them on the bottom shelf.
Your fridge can be a haven for harmful bacteria. Wipe up spills immediately with hot, soapy water, and rinse. And regularly clean the shelves and other interior surfaces to keep your fridge safe.
Use a refrigerator thermometer to maintain a 37 degree F temperature to slow bacterial growth. The freezer should be no higher than zero.
Another food-safety note: Raw meat and eggs aren’t the only thing you should cook before eating. Raw flour can carry salmonella and E. coli, pathogens that can be transferred from animal waste on the farm all the way through the milling process. So resist the urge to taste batter or cookie dough before they’re thoroughly baked.
Consumer Reports advises that cell phones and tablets can easily pick up harmful contaminants from raw ingredients while you cook, so wash your hands before and after checking that online recipe.