April 15, 2013 : Safe Food Handling

Safe Food Handling


safe food handlingAlthough many microorganisms are harmless, some can cause food to spoil, which would make it look, smell, or taste bad. Microorganisms also cause food poisoning, but these microorganisms cannot always be detected by the look, smell or taste of the food.

The idea that the food on the dinner table can make someone sick may be disturbing, but there are steps you can take to protect your family and dinner guests. It's just a matter of following basic rules of food safety. Washing your hands frequently is an easy way to keep microorganisms from spreading as you touch things. Wiping down food contact surfaces with Sani Wipes before preparing food will also help from spreading the germs.

Hand washing is only one step to ensure food safety. Cross contamination, the transfer of microorganisms from one item to another, can occur even before the food comes from the grocery store. The first thing to do once arriving at the grocery store is wipe down the handle of the cart with shopping cart sanitizer wipes To prevent microorganisms on raw meat from getting on produce in the shopping cart, put both produce and meat in separate plastic bags. When putting foods away in your refrigerator make certain you separate the meat from the produce. Frequently wiping down your storage bins in your refrigerator with Chef Prep cleaning wipes is another safeguard.

Cross contamination can occur if counter tops, utensils and cutting boards are not cleaned and sanitized between uses. Use your surface sanitizing wipes to clean these items before and after use.

Along with keeping utensils and the work area clean and sanitary, it is important to pay attention to your dish rag or sponge. These items are a sure source for spreading germs onto your kitchen counter tops and other food preparation areas. Keeping your dish rag or sponge sanitized will help eliminate the spreading of microorganisms. Washing these items in the dishwasher is another way to keep your kitchen and work area sanitary.

Rinsing your beef, chicken or pork in hot water prior to cooking will reduce pathogens that otherwise may cause food borne illnesses. Thorough cooking of chopped, ground or mixed foods, like ground meat or casseroles to recommended internal temperatures will help ensure safety.

To prevent contamination in the storage process, chill leftovers immediately after eating. Never let food cool at room temperature.

Nobody likes to get sick from food. Food spoilage and poisoning can easily be avoided with a few easy steps beginning with clean hands, clean food, clean sponges and dish rags and ending with clean utensils, dishes and cutting boards.

April 5, 2013 : Common Bacterias in Your Kitchen

Common Bacterias in Your Kitchen

Cleaning your kitchen thoroughly is a very difficult task to do. Germs and bacteria can go undetected to the naked eye,  and therefore can lurk in your kitchen without you even knowing. Among these bacteria’s that can be found on surfaces and appliances in kitchens are E. Coli, salmonella and listeria monoctyogenes, which are all also major causes of foodborne illness. 

So how prevalent are these germs?

CBS news recently reported on a study done by a nonprofit science organization, NSF International,  that had 20 volunteer families  swab 14 common kitchen items:  the blender, can opener, flatware storage tray, food storage containers with rubber seals, knife block, microwave keypad, pizza cutter, spatula, strainer and the refrigerator ice dispenser, water dispenser and meat and vegetable compartments.  Among these 14 common kitchen items they tested for four types of microorganisms: E. Coli, salmonella, yeast and mold, and listeria and found the following results:

25% of items tested contained E. coli bacteria.

25% of items tested contained salmonella.

100% of the items tested contained yeast and mold. 

10% of the items tested contained listeria.

Among these items, which ones where the “germiest”?

The report concluded that the six “germiest” items found in the kitchen were the refrigerator vegetable and meat compartments, blender gasket, can opener, rubber spatula and rubber-sealed food storage container. 

So, how do I kill these germs?

As already mentioned, germs and bacteria go undetected to the naked eye and therefore it is difficult to know whether something is clean or not. Therefore, the best thing to do is just assume that there are germs on your appliances and make sure that you clean the appliances before every use even if they appear clean.  Below is a list of a some ways to kill these germs: 

Dishwasher: Use a dishwasher for certian items like the pizza cutter, spatula, and food storage containers with rubber seals to ensure that the all of the germs are getting killed. Water has to be around 110 degrees Fahrenheit to kill germs, and therefore hand washing  these items will not sufficiently kill the germs. 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: Many people don’t realize that in order to clean an appliance properly, you need to disassemble the entire appliance. For instance, in order to kill all of the germs in a blender you need to remove the gasket and the rubber seal in order to thoroughly clean the blender. 

Disinfecting Wipes:  For items like the flatware storage tray, microwave keypad, and refrigerator meat and vegetable drawers, use disinfecting wipes regularly on them to kill the germs.  Begin by cleaning the surfaces off with water and soap (this will not kill the germs, but will just clean off any loose debris). Then, thoroughly disinfect them with disinfecting wipes like Sani-Cloth disenfecting wipes. Let them completely dry before putting the flatware, vegetable, or meat back into the storage units. 

Want to know what are other items in your house are covered in germs? Here is a list of the germiest places in your house. 



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