by Gail Browser
What you don’t know could hurt you… pretty seriously The kitchen is a breeding ground for bacteria that can make you and your family sick and most people don’t realize just what the dangers are. You may keep your kitchen clean, but do you know where the hidden dangers are?
Some of the most common bacteria found in the home kitchen include salmonella and E.coli, both of which are nasty and both of which can be fatal in some cases Food poisoning is far more common than you might imagine, since we often chalk it up to having the flu. The flu usually makes you sick for 2 or more days, so if you are just ill for a few hours or one night, chances are it’s something you ate.
While our bodies are usually capable of fighting off harmful bacteria, it isn’t always easy. Your immune system tends to drop when you are tired or if you have too much sugar or are under stress and that’s when these things can attack. Young children and older family members are particularly at risk because their immune systems simply aren’t as strong as that of a healthy adult.
Your Hands. Unless you are a hand washing addict, chances are you’ve got bacteria on your hands Even if you are washing after using the bathroom and before meals, you need to keep in mind that cracking an egg and then tearing up lettuce could easily spread salmonella to your salad. Wash thoroughly after touching any raw meats, eggs or anything else that could contaminate.
Dish towels. Are you wiping your hands on a dish towel? We all do it and it’s definitely preferable to having messy hands The problem starts when you leave the same towel out for days on end. The room temperature allows bacteria to grow and the next time you wipe your hands, rather than cleaning them, you could be infecting them. Wash dish towels after using them to wipe counter tops or your hands.
Cutting boards. These are big culprits. If you use wooden or plastic cutting boards, you’ve probably noticed that they develop a lot of little cuts and scratches overtime. Unless you are very diligent in cleaning these grooves, they will be teeming with germs, particularly if you use your cutting board for meats Soak cutting boards in bleach water for 5 minutes on a regular basis to kill anything that is hiding in those cracks.
Your fridge. Most of us don’t clean the fridge that often, but even if yours is nearly spotless, there is a huge mistake that many homecooks make. Putting raw food above cooked on the shelves. This is dangerous because juices or bits of the raw food can fall down onto the ready-to-eat items and contaminate it. Be sure to always place thawing chickens or beef, etc. UNDER the food that is ready to eat.
By noticing the areas that could be harboring germs and bacteria and cleaning them properly, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of your family getting sick from something that you’ve prepared in your kitchen. It’s also a good idea to take a food safety course so you know just what to do to ensure that the food is properly prepared.