Tip of the Day
National Food Safety Education Month
September is National Food Safety Education Month, a perfect time for busy families to consider the importance of food safety.
From top to bottom, a clean kitchen is the best line of defense between your family and food poisoning. Before you prepare and enjoy foods, eliminate common breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria:
- Everyone in your family should wash their hands often – front and back, between fingers, under fingernails – in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds (or two choruses of "Happy Birthday") before and after every step in preparing or eating foods.
- Clean all work surfaces often to remove food particles and spills. Use hot, soapy water. Keep nonfood items – mail, newspapers, purses, reusable tote bags – off counters and away from food and utensils. Wash the counter carefully before and after food preparation, as well as items commonly touched such as cabinet knobs and the refrigerator handle.
- Wash dishes, cutting boards and cookware in the dishwasher or in hot, soapy water, and always rinse them well. Remember that chipped plates and china can collect bacteria.
- Replace old cutting boards that have cracks, crevices and excessive knife scars.
- Change towels and dishcloths often and wash them in the hot cycle of your washing machine. Allow them to dry out between each use. If they are damp, they're the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Throw out dirty sponges or wash them in a bleach-water solution.
- On any appliance, clean spills right away. Wash appliances with hot, soapy water. Pay close attention to the refrigerator and the freezer shelves, sides and door where foods are stored.
- Spills and food splatters inside your microwave can also collect bacteria, so clean it regularly as well.
For more information about food safety, from facts and figures to what more you can do to prevent it, visit www.HomeFoodSafety.org.
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Reviewed July 2013