Kitchen Rules for Safety & Hygiene

Bacteria and other diseases abound in many areas, but the kitchen is particularly susceptible to hygiene issues, thanks to the presence of raw meat and other food. And if that weren’t enough, hot surfaces, electrical appliances and sharp knives all make the kitchen a hot bed for disease and accidents. There are some things you can do, though, to make your kitchen a safe and healthy place for preparing food.

Bacteria

E. coli and salmonella are just two of the many bacteria that can come from raw or even undercooked meats like beef and poultry. To reduce the risk of ingesting this bacteria, make sure all surfaces are regularly cleaned, especially after handling raw meat, using anti-bacterial cleaner. Your hands and other food preparation tools like knives and cutting boards should be cleaned and sanitized regularly. Cross-contamination can occur when using multiple cooking utensils, so make sure to wash your hands every time you handle raw or even cooked meat to avoid spreading the bacteria. Cooking meat thoroughly is also key to killing bacteria. Beef and poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, while pork should cook to 160 degrees.

Nooks and Crannies

Proper kitchen hygiene means staying vigilant even in the areas you can’t see. Crumbles and food particles can get in all sorts of areas of the kitchen, which can potentially attract mice and other small animals, which can leave behind animal waste—a serious health hazard. Take time every few months to pull out your major appliances—refrigerator, dishwasher, range, etc.—and sweep and mop to remove food particles and other debris. Be sure to unplug the appliance before moving it to avoid electrical accidents. Using disinfectant all over the kitchen is always a great idea. You never know what germs and bacteria might be lurking in any area of the kitchen.

Sharp Edges and Heat

Children should always be supervised while in the kitchen, as it poses numerous dangers. Place knives and other sharp objects out of reach of children. Also be aware of dishes in the dishwasher that could be available to children to get access to. Make sure appliance cords are not hanging over the counters. Pay special attention to the stove, oven and any items in or on it. Pan handles hanging over the edge can pose a serious injury risk to children. Avoid grease fires by keeping food on heat just high enough to properly cook and be sure to have baking powder or a fire extinguisher on hand to douse the flames in case of a fire.