Bacteria can grow in your kitchen, especially on cutting boards, utensils, sponges, and counter tops. Meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, fruits, and vegetables may carry bacteria that cause foodborne illness. As you handle them, you can cross-contaminate other foods and working surfaces.
Follow these simple rules to keep kitchen bacteria under control:
- Always start with a clean food preparation area. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after you handle food, use the bathroom, change diapers, or touch pets.
- Wash cutting boards, utensils, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food. For best protection, use a commercial kitchen sanitizer or make your own bleach solution.
- Sanitize your cutting boards from time to time by soaking them with the bleach solution. Let the board stand for a few minutes, then rinse it thoroughly with clean, running water.
- Replace your cutting boards when they become worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves.
- Wash dishcloths, sponges, and tea towels often, using the hot cycle of a washing machine.
- Wash fresh fruits and vegetables gently under cool, running, drinkable water before you eat them or cook them. (You don’t need anything but water to wash produce.)
- Use a vegetable scrub brush on carrots, potatoes, melons, squash, and other produce with a firm skin.
- Don't soak fresh fruit or vegetables in a sink full of water. Bacteria in the sink can transfer to the fresh produce.
- Wash your reusable grocery bags and bins frequently, especially if you use them to carry raw meat, poultry, fish, seafood, or other perishable foods.
- Wash sinks, kitchen surfaces, and containers immediately when they come in contact with raw meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.
Food Safety For Higher Risk Canadians is brought to you by the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) supported through an unrestricted educational grant from Maple Leaf Foods Inc.