There are some kitchen habits that we develop subconsciously without thinking about the health implications. Breaking these habits could be the difference between keeping you and your family infection-free and keeping your kitchen, and food free from bacteria. Let’s look at some of these habits.
1. Using the same chopping board for everything
It has been recommended that you should have a different chopping board for meats, vegetables and fruits. This is because even after washing properly, chopping boards can harbour bacteria. Using the same chopping board for meat and vegetables and fruits will transfer this bacteria from one to the other putting you at risk of getting sick.
2. Storing meat above of vegetables in the refrigerator
If you store meat above your vegetables, the meat juices could leak onto your vegetables. What you should do is store meats on the lower shelves of the fridge with the vegetables above. Ensure the meat is in leak-proof containers and keep it covered to further prevent cross contamination.
3. Thawing meats on the kitchen counter
This common practice is a grievous mistake. In the same way that you are encouraged to avoid cleaning meat in the sink to prevent contamination, thawing it on your kitchen counter does the same thing. The fluids from the meat contains harmful bacteria which could contaminate you kitchen counter and any food you place on it if you don't disinfect it well.
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4. Tasting the batter before baking
The raw batter contains eggs and flour which, when eaten raw, can cause food poisoning, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns. The best way to get rid of bacteria which causes food poisoning is by cooking it. Thus avoid eating raw batter or dough.
5. Failing to use a thermometer in making steaks
It's common for people to eyeball their meat when determining if it is cooked. To avoid meat that is underdone, since raw meat can have disease-causing bacteria, use a thermometer to check whether the centre of your steak is cooked.
6. Using dirty dishcloths and dish sponges
Dirty dishcloths and sponges can transfer bacteria to your clean dishes, which can then make you sick. Ensure you have a rotter for when you wash your dish cloths. It could be every day depending on how frequently you use them. Switch out sponges often and you can disinfect them every night to prevent growth of bacteria.
7. Failing to wash the reusable shopping bags
Shopping bags need to be cleaned too. They are used to carry various food items like meat, raw vegetables, fruit, bread, etc. meaning that using the same, unwashed shopping bag can cause cross contamination. Make sure you wash your shopping bags as you use them.
8. Pouring oil down the sink
Pouring heavy oils down the drain will certainly clog up your sink, slowing down the drainage process. If you must get rid of old oil, pour it in kitchen roll or old newspaper and put it in the dustbin.
9. Tasting with your cooking utensil
Not only is this uncouth but also risky. When you taste with the same stirring spoon and put it back into the pot, you're transferring germs from your mouth into the food and this could make the other members of your household sick.