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Safe Food Handling in the Kitchen

It’s also an area that can be filled with germs, grime and bacteria if not taken care of properly. Protect the heart of your home with these kitchen cleaning and safe food handling tips.

Food Preparation

  • One of the main rules of food safety is to wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. This step should be done before you touch any food.
  • Wash any produce before you cut, peel and cook. You can use a vegetable brush to clean produce that has strong skin such as carrots, potatoes and melons. It’s important to wash produce with running water instead of soaking it in the sink. Any bacteria from your sink can be transferred to your food this way.
  • Use separate cutting boards for produce, raw meat, poultry and fish.
  • Any plates, serving utensils, sponges and meat thermometers that have come in touch with raw meats or eggs should not be used again till they have been cleaned thoroughly in warm, soapy water or the dishwasher.
  • Cook raw meat, poultry and seafood at a safe internal temperature to avoid possible foodborne illness.
  • If you have carried any raw meat, poultry, fish or seafood in a reusable grocery bag, be sure to wash it after.
  • Be extra cautious when preparing a meal for pregnant women, seniors and young children.

Refrigeration

  • Keep food in the refrigerator as cool as possible. Food can enter a “danger zone” where bacteria can grow rapidly, causing potential food poisoning. According to the Government of Canada website, the danger zone for food is between 4°C(40°F) to 60°C(140°F).
  • Once you buy raw meat, poultry, fish or seafood, put it in the fridge as soon as possible or within a two hour period. When refrigerating them, place them in separate containers or plastic bags and away from other food. Place them on the bottom self to prevent raw juices from dripping onto other food.
  • Don’t forget to cook the raw meat no more than two to three days after buying them.
  • Store washed and cut fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator.
  • Store eggs in their original carton.
  • Marinate meat in the refrigerator rather than on the kitchen counter.
  • Label any cooked leftovers with the date and store them in shallow containers. If they expire, promptly throw them out.
  • Try to avoid overstocking the refrigerator to let some cool air circulate.

Cleaning

  • Use paper towels instead of cloths to clean up kitchen surfaces. This can help prevent the chance of cross-contamination and spreading of bacteria.
  • Wash utensils and cutting boards after each use.
  • Be sure to clean cutting boards efficiently with warm, soapy water or if they are dishwasher safe, place them in the dishwasher.
  • Clean the kitchen sink as plenty of bacteria can lurk there.
  • Keep track of which kitchen towels and cloths you have used to clean kitchen surfaces. Be sure to change them daily to avoid any cross-contamination.

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