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Invisible threats in your kitchen

THERE are many micro-organisms lurking on your kitchen that can infect your cooking and food, and consequently have a negative effect on your health.

Food poisoning and diarrhea are just some conditions which may be caused by preparing food in a dirty, germ-infested kitchen.

To prevent these, you need to make sure that your kitchen is kept clean and safe from bacteria and other germs. Here are some ways to ensure the cleanliness of your kitchen and to keep the invisible threats at bay:

* Remove unnecessary clutter from surfaces. Discard appliances and gadgets that you don't use any more, as unused appliances will tend to gather dust. Be sure that any appliances which are still usable are stored in a safe place, out of reach of children.

* Keep your refrigerator clean and tidy. Before your do your weekly shopping, remove old and rotten food, and clean shelves and racks. Look at expiration dates and be sure to label any containers of homemade food or leftovers. Don't make a habit of keeping food for too long in the fridge, as rotten food will breed bacteria, and may even contaminate fresh food kept in the same area.

* Use a rubbish bin with a lid to keep out odours that attract flies and other insects. Empty it as soon as it smells, even if it is not yet full. You should do this everyday.

* Wash and disinfect your rubbish bin once a week. This will ensure that any germs which may have remained even after you emptied out the rubbish will die, and cannot multiply. Also, this will remove any foul smells which may be emanate from the trash bin.

* Use separate chopping boards for different kind of foods. Keep separate chopping boards for your meat and your vegetables to reduce the spread of bacteria. Clean the meat chopping board carefully, especially after cutting chicken, as raw food has a higher tendency of containing bacteria.

* Change the dish cloth you use to wipe surfaces every day. Use a different cloth for surfaces than for dishes. Wash the cloth with hot water and as appropriate, bleach. Use separate towels for hands and dishes, and change both of those regularly too.

* Use a paper towel for any mess that is likely to cause contamination, such as raw meat or eggs, and anything that has fallen on the floor. It is better to use cleaning material that you can easily throw out after and prevent from contaminating other foods, instead of using towels or sponges which you are likely to use again afterwards.

* Keep the kitchen floors free from debris and grease by sweeping and washing regularly. If something has spilled, make sure to mop it right away instead of letting the mess stay there. Aside from making sure that germs do not use the spillage as a breeding ground, immediate mopping will prevent unwanted accidents such as slipping.

* Don't leave dirty crockery and pans to fester where they can attract harmful bacteria. Wash dishes with hot water and soap as soon as you are done using them.

* Wash surfaces that get touched. Periodically wipe doorknobs, handles, buttons, controls and light switches in and around your kitchen with cleaning agents. Even if they seem clean to the naked eye, they may already be harbouring bacteria.

* Wash your hands before handling food, and again if you sneeze or cough, blow your nose, go to the bathroom, or touch high-use surfaces.

Source: New Straits Times - 1Klassifieds - Compiled by 1Klassifieds Team
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