Nov 3, 2011

What's Living in your Kitchen?

Do you know what's living in your kitchen? Chances are, more than you think. 

Earlier this week, a health inspector visited one of the nursing homes I work at. The inspector took a walk through the kitchen and recommended we use bleach solution to sanitize because it kills Norovirus, a virus that can contaminate food and lead to food poisoning.

Why am I telling you this? Because there's totally a take-home point! Norovirus could just as easily be in your kitchen as in a foodservice kitchen. Not to mention, there are a host of other nasty viruses and bacteria that could be nestled - all comfy cozy - in your kitchen. These germs can cause food poisoning and that's just not cool. So don't let those germs rain on your parade! It's your kitchen, not theirs!

Here's the plan, the three essential steps to a thorough kitchen cleaning: wash, rinse and sanitize all surfaces and/or utensils that come into contact with food (i.e. sink, countertops, cookware, utensils, etc.)

A few tools of the trade:

First step: Wash with a detergent cleaner or soap

Second step: Rinse with clean water

Third step: Sanitize with a solution that contains bleach or make your own

According to the National Food Safety Management Institute, these three steps should be taken every time you switch in preparing different food products (for example, from different types of raw meats or from raw meats to raw vegetables) or if any contamination is suspected (for example, you think raw chicken juices may have splashed on the raw broccoli).

Be sure to lock up all your chemicals or store them where little hands cannot get them. 

Of course these three steps should always be accompanied by other food safety precautions like frequent handwashing, cooking foods thoroughly and avoiding food preparation if you're sick.

I know, I know. How is a sick MOM supposed to avoid handling food? Mom's don't get sick days, right? Well, my advice is to handle food served to others as little as possible if you're feeling sick. Break out your freezer meals or order food in. It'll be worth it. The only thing worse than a sick mom is a sick kid, right?

I do my best to prevent germs from overtaking my kitchen, but a toddler? Well, by the looks of it, he and his truck forces have laid siege.

As always, this post is brought to you by your friendly food safety nerd :)

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