Most food-borne illnesses can be easily prevented by using proper food handling practices.
How safe is your kitchen?
Cleanliness in the kitchen begins before you start to prepare food. Everything that comes into contact with your hands or food must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. This includes dishes, cutlery, utensils, pots and pans, counter tops, cutting boards as well as kitchen cloths, faucets, can opener blades, and refrigerator handles. Harmful bacteria that are not visible may thrive and multiply in food that is prepared by unclean hands in an unclean kitchen so, before preparing food, get off to a clean start.
Cleaning cloths: always use a clean cloth. Cloths that are re-used without being cleaned and sanitized are often a source of cross-contamination. Use different cloths for different jobs.
What is the difference between cleaning and sanitizing?
removes food particles, food juices, dirt, debris and stains from dishes, equipment, counters and other surfaces by using a solution of detergent, hot water and a clean cloth. Cleaning removes debris and stains that you can smell, see or feel.
Sanitizing kills harmful micro-organisms which you cannot smell, see or feel, but which may cause illness in humans.
How to clean and sanitize dishes, pots and utensils
- Scrape off all food scraps –then rinse.
- Throw out dishes that are chipped or cracked as bacteria may get into the cracks and spoil food.
- Wash them with detergent and hot water that is 45°C (113°F) or hotter.
- Check the water temperature with a thermometer and always use a clean cloth.
- Rinse dishes, pot and utensils in clean hot water that is 45°C (113°F) or hotter.
- Now sanitize. Let them soak for at least 45 seconds in very hot water (at least 77°C/170°F) or warm water 24°C to 45°C (75°F to 113°F) mixed with a chemical sanitizer.
- Let articles air dry in a clean rack. Drying dishes with a towel can easily spread bacteria.
Never mix chemicals together or with detergents as the mixtures can be poisonous (toxic).
Sanitizing with chlorine
Dishes, pots utensils: soak in a sanitizing solution of 10 mL (2 tsp.) of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach mixed with 1L (4 cups) of water for at least 45 seconds.
Surfaces: spray the chlorine solution on counters and cutting boards and let stand for at least 1 minute. Don’t touch the surface after you have applied the sanitizing solution. Let all articles air dry (or use disposable towels).
It is important to use the right amount of chemical sanitizer when mixing it with water. If you use too much, you may contaminate the food. If you don’t use enough, you may not kill the bacteria. The
temperature of the water is also important. Some chemicals do not work properly if the water is too hot or too cold. Use a thermometer to check the temperature.
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