You may feel confident when cooking up that bird and seasoning those veggies, but do you know how to avoid serving up a deadly dose of kitchen bacteria like salmonella? According to the Center for Disease Control, over 40,000 people each year get salmonella poisoning. However, with some simple steps, salmonella can be avoided.
- When you set raw meat on the countertop, you create a puddle of bacteria. Wipe up meat juices with a paper towel, spray the counter with an anti-bacterial cleaner (mix your own solution of 1 part bleach, 10 parts water for example), and wipe clean with another paper towel. Don’t use a dish cloth for this job, it’s not worth risking someone washing the dishes or the table with this contaminated cloth.
- Use two cutting boards when cutting up meat and veggies. One for the meat, a different one for the veggies. Wash cutting boards carefully with hot soapy water between uses. Never cut raw vegetables on the meat cutting board.
- Avoid cleaning up raw meat juices with a sponge since germs get trapped in the sponge creating a breeding ground for bacteria. And if you do get raw meat juices in your sponge, rinse in hot soapy water, then microwave the sponge for 1 minute. Be careful when removing – let it cool to the touch first.
- After handling raw meat be sure to wash your hands vigorously with warm soapy water for at least one minute. And be careful to clean up under those long acrylic fingernails as they can be completely missed during hand washing. The CDC has recommendations on proper hand washing techniques.
- Wash all utensils that touch raw meat, like platters or plates, with hot soapy water before placing the cooked meat back on.
- Store raw meat on the lower shelf of the fridge, and raw vegetables on the higher shelves, to protect against mean drips or spills contaminating those raw veggies.
Serve up a safe, healthy meal during the holidays with just a little attention to proper clean up and food handling. Bon appétit!