Is your kitchen as clean as you think it is?

 

So you like to think you’re a person who takes pride in sanitation and home hygiene?

 

Bad news: You might be fooling yourself!

 

A new study published in Food Protection Trends and the Journal of Food Protection (http://jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-354?af=R&code=fopr-site) that looked at 100 homes discovered pretty much every single kitchen violated at least one critical code.

 

One of the most common violations had to do with raw meat, which was found to be stored incorrectly in 97 percent of the homes where it was present. Not only that, but almost half of the 100 kitchens examined contained at least one foodborne disease-causing organism, such as E-coli or Listeria.

 

Three of the most common places for problems included:

 

  • On dish cloths: 64 percent of cloths and sponges contained bacteria, the study found.

 

  • In and around your sink: This was a high percentage place for E. coli.

 

  • On cutting boards: Especially wood boards, which often end up cracking and become the perfect place for bacteria to fester.

 

What can you do to ensure your kitchen is safe?

 

So, if you’re ever part of a study like this, you’ll pass with flying colours?

 

  1. Sponges and cloths

 

Basically, clean them and replace them, more often than you do now. Don’t use a cloth for more than one day if want to be really clean.

 

Another option is to throw your sponges in the  dishwasher to kill any potentially lingering bacteria.

 

  1. Meat leakage

 

Don’t put raw meat above other foods in your fridge, where it can leak and land on the food below. Instead, keep it on the bottom shelf in your fridge, or in a drawer. This was one of the common violations in the 100 homes that were studied.

 

  1. Fridge temp

 

Your fridge should be kept at 4C (40F). In nearly half the homes in the study, the fridge was too warm—above 41 F. This means bacteria has a greater chance of growing in the food you think is protected by your fridge.

 

When in doubt, buy a fridge thermometer to ensure your fridge isn’t too warm.

 

  1. Keep your dog away

 

In more than one-third of the homes in the study, a pet was lingering around the kitchen. At the very least, keep them off food preparation surfaces.

 

  1. Disinfect frequently

 

Keep a spray bottle with disinfectant in your kitchen and give all surfaces, handles, and especially in and around your sink a good wipe whenever you can. Ideally daily.