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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Kitchen hygiene

How do we keep this part of the house clean?
CATS Recruit in The Straits Times - December 7, 2009
By: Adele Ong
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Kitchen hygiene

Hygiene-consciousness in the kitchen is vital. In this part of the house where meals are prepared and edible items are stored and tasted, cleanliness and food-safety are a must to prevent serious problems for the family, such as food poisoning.

Most people know how important it is to store food at the right temperatures so it doesn’t go bad; cook meat properly so that parts of it don’t remain raw; and keep work surfaces, chopping boards, cutlery and crockery clean. However, many kitchen users overlook the matter of transference of bacteria from one item or surface to another by means of their own or others’ hands.

For instance, if you have been working with raw meat just before gripping a pot handle or the handle of a spoon to scoop the meat into the pot, the pot and spoon handles now have raw-meat bacteria on them. Even if you wash your hands after scooping the meat in, once you grasp the pot or spoon handle again, the bacteria gets back onto the hand you use – which might then go on to touch cooked food or a salad.

Another oft-overlooked matter is the importance of cleaning the outsides and undersides of food-storage containers, pots, plates and bowls. Although the external surfaces, including lids and handles, may be less grease-covered than the insides, they bear traces of food splatters, bacteria from having been touched by hands that had just touched something else, and possible contact with pests during the night. So wash up well both inside and outside before and after cooking and eating – don’t risk transferring the germs from those external surfaces to food you are preparing.

The same goes for cutlery before and after eating. I often see people fastidiously washing the tines of forks, bowls of spoons and blades of knives while barely cleaning the handles. Get those clean too, especially if you wash by hand and do not use a dishwasher.

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