According to the CDC, around 48 million people get sick and approximately 3000 die in the U.S from food born diseases. Usually, bacteria and viruses are the cause of food poisoning. And the kitchen is an ideal place for bacteria to grow. To stop the growth of these harmful bacteria and viruses we need to practice kitchen hygiene. Cleanliness in kitchen and food safety and sanitation is necessary to minimize the risk of food poisoning. We have gathered some kitchen hygiene rules and food safety guidelines for you.
Here are some tips to maintain kitchen hygiene:
- Maintain Personal Hygiene in Kitchen
- Keep Your Kitchen Clean
- Prevent Cross-Contamination
- Properly Cook The Food
- Properly Store and Handle The Food
1. Maintain Personal Hygiene in Kitchen
Personal hygiene is one of the key factors to maintain a clean and healthy kitchen. It does not depend on your financial condition and neither requires much money to keep yourself clean. Here are some rules for personal hygiene that you should always follow to live a healthy life.
- Keep your fingernails short and clean. I know some ladies like long and sharp fingernails but I recommend you to keep them short and clean OR at least clean.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- When you go to the toilet.
- After handling garbage or trash.
- Before and after eating.
- After handling poultry or any kind of meat.
- After touching anything that you think can have germs on it.
- Take regular showers to keep yourself clean.
- Oral hygiene is important for your health. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Keep your hair tidy and clean, especially when you are cooking. And use hair nets to avoid your hairs falling in the food.
- Do not wear a ring while cooking, it can collect food particles and bacteria.
- Do not dry your hands with the apron.
- Avoid smoking in your kitchen.
2. Keep Your Kitchen Clean
Along with personal hygiene, keep your kitchen clean too. Kitchen cleanliness is necessary to avoid any health risks.
- All the waste should go into the waste bin. Dispose off the waste twice a day.
- Use a good quality waste bin with a tight lid and clean it regularly.
- Keep the waste bin away from the food preparation area.
- Always clean kitchen appliances after use.
- Use induction cooktops instead of regular stoves. They are energy efficient, safe, and easy to clean.
- Clean kitchen cabinets, shelves, and floor on a regular basis.
- Keep the kitchen drains clean.
- Use anti-microbial mats that are specially designed for kitchen floors to maintain hygiene.
- Places that mostly are moist are suitable for bacteria to grow. Clean these corners and places on a regular basis.
- Keep kitchen sink clean. Make sure that the sink is not clogged.
- Keep your fridge and freezer clean. If anything spills, clean it immediately.
- Make sure that you also clean the outer side of the oven, fridge, and other appliances. Especially make sure that the handles are clean.
- Keep the food away from the walls and floor, to avoid pests.
- Keep your food containers and other storage places dry, pests will be attracted to humid places.
- Clean your workspace before and after use and keep it dry.
- We recommend using disposable cloths and paper towels. Otherwise, decontaminate the cloth every time after use.
- Regularly check for fungus, slime or mold and remove them properly.
- Remove bread crumbs or food residual from cooktop and shelves.
- Make sure that there is no leakage in the kitchen plumbing. Get it repaired if there is any leakage.
3. Prevent Cross-Contamination
Cross-Contamination is one of the major reasons for food poisoning. Cross-Contamination is when one food contaminates the other food accidentally. To avoid cross-contamination you should keep different kinds of food separate from each other. Here are some things you should consider to prevent from the cross-contamination.
- Cleanliness is the key. Wash your hands before touching different kinds of food especially meat.
- Separate the food. Keep uncooked meat away from fruits and vegetables. Wrap and store meat separately, if you have less space and want to store the meat in the freezer with other food. Be sure that it is wrapped properly.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before you use them or store them in the refrigerator. Try to consume vegetables and fruits before they rot.
- Reduce accidents and spills in your refrigerator. Try to place the things that can spill on lower shelves. This will make it easy to clean and will not contaminate other foods.
- Use food storage containers. There are various kinds of food storage containers available in the market, use proper containers to store food to prevent spills.
- Clean your cutting boards properly. Wash your cutting board properly or disinfect it using one tablespoon of chlorine with one quart of water. Also, use separate cutting boards for raw food like meat and fish. You can also use tempered glass cutting boards.
4. Properly Cook The Food
Cook your foods thoroughly to kill the germs present in the food. Especially raw foods like meat and fish to a minimum 170° F to kill the bacteria present in the food. To check if the meat is properly cooked, put a knife in the meaty part and there should not be any pink meat. If you are going to reheat the food, make sure that it’s thoroughly heated all the way.
5. Store and Handle The Food Properly
Properly storing the food also reduces the risk of food poisoning. Keep following things in mind while storing food.
- Always check the expiry date on the packaging and use the item before that date.
- Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before storing.
- Don’t wash meat in your kitchen sink, it can contaminate the vicinity.
- Store food at 0 to 5° C, to slow down the growth of bacteria.
- Store raw food like meat and fish separately and properly wrap it before storing.
- Do not reuse any storage container that had meat or fish stored in. Use disposable storage containers for raw food like meat and fish.
- Do not store warm food in the refrigerator, it will not be cooled down evenly and can cause illness.
- Cover your food and store it in proper storage containers.
- Never defrost food on room temperature. Defrost the food in cold water or in the refrigerator.
- Do not leave food on room temperature for longer times (not more than 2 hours) especially meat and fish. Because the food may be frozen, but the bacteria will start to grow rapidly when the temperature is between 40 to 140° F.
- So keep your food under 40° F or above 140° F (4 to 60° C) to slow down the growth of bacteria.
If you have more suggestions and tips to maintain kitchen hygiene and avoid food poisoning, feel free to write in the comments. Here is a poster for you to maintain hygiene in the kitchen.