Food poisoning will strike 1 in 6 Americans in 2013 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicates; here are some great tips on how to keep germs off your hands, off your surfaces and, consequently, off your food.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicates that one in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning in 2013. More than 100,000 people go to the hospital suffering from food poisoning each year, they add. Cleaning kitchen surfaces and washing your hands will go a long way in helping you avoid being one of the many food-poisoning sufferers this year. The FDA offers a number of must-do hand- and surface-washing suggestions, including detailing the RIGHT way to wash your hands to keep germs away and off your food.
Washing hands and surfaces often can help eliminate illness-causing bacteria, which survives in many unwashed places around the kitchen, including on hands, utensils and cutting boards. The FDA suggests the following handwashing steps:
- Wash hands the right way—for 20 seconds with soap and running water. Washing your hands the right way can stop the spread of illness-causing bacteria. Here’s how to do it:
- Wet your hands with warm or cold running water and apply soap. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Bacteria can hide out here too! Continue rubbing hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum “Happy Birthday” from beginning to end twice. Rinse your hands well under running water. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.
When to wash?
Before eating food. Before, during, and after preparing food. Before and after treating a cut or wound. Before and after caring for someone who is sick. After handling uncooked eggs, or raw meat, poultry, seafood, or their juices. After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. After touching an animal or animal waste. After touching garbage. After using the toilet. Wash surfaces and utensils after each use.
Not Just the Hands
Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops. To prevent this:
Use paper towels or clean cloths to wipe up kitchen surfaces or spills. Wash cloths often in the hot cycle of your washing machine. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item. As an extra precaution, you can use a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water to sanitize washed surfaces and utensils. Wash fruits and veggies—but not meat, poultry, or eggs! And, did you know that even if you plan to peel fruits and veggies, it’s important to wash them first? Left unwashed, bacteria can spread from the outside to the inside as you cut or peel them.
Additional tips for avoiding food poisoning are available on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
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