Reviewed by Sharon Denny, MS, RDN
It's not just your hands that need washing during food preparation. To prevent food poisoning, it's also important to know how to properly wash produce, cutting boards and food containers.
- Use clean scissors or blades to open bags of produce.
- Fruit peels may carry bacteria that can spread during eating, cutting or peeling. Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables with cool tap water immediately before eating. This applies to ready-to-eat fruits and peel-and-eat fruits, such as oranges, bananas and lemons.
- Scrub firm produce such as melons and cucumbers with a clean produce brush.
- Remove and discard outer leaves of lettuce.
- After cleaning, place washed produce into clean storage containers, not back into the original ones.
- Use two cutting boards: one for raw meat, poultry and seafood; another for ready-to-eat foods including breads, fruits and vegetables.
- After cutting raw meat, poultry or seafood on your cutting board, clean thoroughly with hot, soapy water; then, disinfect with chlorine bleach or other sanitizing solution and rinse with clean water.
- Discard old cutting boards that have cracks, crevices and knife scars where bacteria can live and grow.
- After each use and before moving on to the next step while prepping food, clean cutting boards thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Then, rinse with water and air dry or pat dry with clean paper towels.
- To disinfect your cutting board, use a fresh solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Flood the surface with the bleach solution and allow it to stand for several minutes. Rinse with water and air dry or pat dry with clean paper towels.
- Watch this video on how to maintain a cutting board.
Cans and Bottles
- Rinse soda cans, milk bottles, jars and canned foods before using. Remember to clean the can opener after each usage, which helps eliminate harmful bacteria from the outside of the container and keeps it from contaminating the food inside when you open the container.
Reviewed December 2014