The kitchen is the warm heart of many homes, but without common sense safety rules this heart can be hazardous. Kitchen hygiene and safety habits can keep you and your family from suffering injury and illness, so follow good kitchen rules without compromising.
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Always wash your hands before touching any food in your kitchen. Wet hands with water that is at least 37.8 degrees Celsius. Add soap to your hands and rub them together to create lather. Lather your hands for at least 20 seconds, getting between fingers and the backs of the hands as well as the palms. Rinse your hands thoroughly and dry them on a disposable, single-use paper towel.
Keep kitchen knives sharp to help prevent accidental cuts. Dull knives may cause you to press down harder on food when cutting, resulting in the knife slipping off the food and cutting a finger. Never try to catch a knife that falls off a counter. Many people reflexively try to catch a falling object, but trying to catch a falling knife is an easy way to slice your hand. Never put a knife into soapy dishwater and then walk away. The next person who puts their hands into the water could grab the knife blade without seeing it, resulting in a cut.
Avoid cross-contamination to help avoid food-borne illness. Keep separate cutting boards for raw meats, and never use them for cheese or vegetables. Never use wooden cutting boards for raw food, as slices in the wood can harbour bacteria. Wash your counters with a bleach and water solution, wipe them down with single-use paper towels. Keep all cooked foods separated from raw foods, to keep any bacteria from mixing into the prepared dishes.
The danger zone in food is temperatures between 4.44 degrees C and 60 degrees Celsius, the temperature range in which bacteria and food borne illnesses thrive. Always keep your food above or below this temperature range. Check your refrigerator frequently to make sure that it is cold enough. Cook hot foods to 73.9 degrees C to kill bacteria, and make sure they are at least at 60 degrees C when served. When you are going to refrigerate leftover hot foods, cool the foods as quickly as possible to minimise time in the danger zone. Place the food in the refrigerator right away instead of letting it cool on the counter top. Consider dividing food into smaller, rather than larger, containers to speed cooling.
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