Does Your Kitchen Hygiene Need A Brush Up?

Whether you are a real foodie and love spending hours in the kitchen concocting elaborate feasts, or you are more a “thirty minute meals” kind of person, having good kitchen hygiene is vital.  There are all kinds of nasty bacteria that can thrive in a kitchen and you also have to be careful to avoid cross contamination when you are preparing your meals.  Even a kitchen that looks spotless can have areas where bacteria can live, invisible to the naked eye, so it is absolutely crucial to make sure you always follow a proper kitchen hygiene routine, as well as just keeping your surfaces looking clean.

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Wash Your Hands – A Lot!

It seems obvious that you should wash your hands before touching any food that you are working with, but it is a basic step many people forget.  It is best to wash your hands very thoroughly and use a nail brush to remove any dirt and debris that might be lurking under your finger nails both before you begin, and between every step of the cooking process for the meal you are making.

If you have to handle raw meat or fish, then this becomes even more important, as there is a risk that you can transfer raw food particles into other parts of the meal.  Any traces of raw chicken getting into your salad, for example, can leave you and your dinner guests pretty sick.

As well as using normal anti bacterial hand soap, it can also be good to have a bottle of hand sanitiser close to your kitchen sink, so you can quickly clean your hands and kill any harmful organisms in between steps like chopping vegetables.

Keep Your Oven Gloves and Tea Towels Clean

When was the last time you washed your oven gloves?  Oven gloves and tea towels come into contact with food more often than you might think, whether you are using them to handle how pans and baking trays or wipe things down after washing.  Most oven gloves that haven't been washed for a while show all kinds of stains, burnt bits and bits of dried on food, and when you use oven gloves and tea towels in this kind of state you are risking transferring all of this stuff into the food you are going to eat.

Run your oven gloves through the washing machine regularly, and make sure you have plenty of tea towels in rotation so you aren't ever using a grimy one that could well have become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Chopping Board Hygiene

Every restaurant, from your local fast food chain to a five star Gordon Ramsay establishment, has to use colour coded chopping boards to make sure that no cross contamination between raw and cooked meats, fish, vegetables and other foods occurs.  If you want to bring this kind of professional level of kitchen hygiene into your own home, you can buy sets of these colour coded chopping boards for your own use and fight cross contamination and bacteria like a pro.

If you think this is overkill for the quick, easy meals you tend to prepare, then it is still vital that you keep the chopping boards you use for different foods separate.  Do not think that you can just flip over the board you used to slice up raw chicken to use for some onions, for example.  Use a different chopping board, or fully wash and santise it before you use it for another type of food.

By taking care to keep these key areas where bacteria and cross contamination are a big risk clean – your hands, your utensils, and your fabric kitchen gear – you will find it much easier to keep your cooking environment clean and safe.
Aimee Coppock
About the Author:

Aimee Coppock loves cooking but hates cleaning up afterwards.  After reading up on food hygiene however her actions soon changed – she even hired some professional oven cleaners to help her make sure that her kitchen equipment is fully bacteria free.

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