Washing the Germs Away

By Mindy Longhurst

It has been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. The kitchen is where food is lovingly prepared and where families spend time together each day. But, the kitchen can also be a dangerous place if precautions are not taken. The following easy steps can be taken to protect your family and keep them safe from foodborne illnesses.

cooking-hands-handwashing-545013Proper hand washing

In order for your foods to be safe, make sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds under warm water before handling food. Scrub the inside and top of your hands as well as scrub underneath the fingernails. Scrubbing your entire hand will make sure that the bacteria on your hand is gone. If you are unsure about how long to wash your hands for, sing the ABCs or Happy Birthday song. These songs are usually about 20 seconds in length.

berries-blackberries-blueberries-87818Proper food washing

Fruits and vegetables should be rinsed over cold water before eating. There can be bacteria and even dirt on the fruit and vegetables. Having them rinsed will reduce the amount of bad bacteria.

Make sure to not wash poultry, eggs and meats. This can spread the bacteria all over the sink and counters! If cooked properly, the majority of the bacteria will be cooked out of these products.

Proper utensil and counter washing

Make sure to clean all counters, tables, cutting boards or sinks that have raw or undercooked meat on them. This needs to be washed as soon as the meat is off the surface. Raw meat has a lot of bacteria and could easily cross contaminate other foods if the utensils are not properly cleaned.

For more information, please visit www.fsis.usda.gov/

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