Clean hands and surfaces are important for your health

Washing your kitchen surfaces and hands is an important step to prevent food poisoning.

Bacteria are everywhere – including your kitchen where food is stored, prepared and eaten. Bacteria that cause illnesses can be on your food, kitchen utensils, counters, appliances, floors, pets and especially your hands. It is important to take the necessary steps to clean before, during and after preparing and eating your food to keep you and your family safe from food poisoning. Cleaning includes both surfaces and your hands.

According to FoodSafety.Gov, it is important to wash surfaces and utensils after each use. Use paper towels or a clean cloth to wipe your kitchen surfaces to help prevent the spreading of bacteria. Wash cutting boards, counter tops, utensils and dishes with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you prepare the next item. To sanitize your surfaces and utensils use a solution of one teaspoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in one quart of warm water. Apply this solution to your clean surface using a spray bottle or a cloth. Let the clean and sanitized surfaces air dry.

FoodSafety.Gov also emphasizes that besides your surfaces and utensils you need to make sure your hands are not spreading bacteria. Messages about hand washing can be seen in many places especially during the cold and flu season. These messages are important every day of the year. Washing, not just rinsing, your hands is necessary for at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands before, during and after handling or eating food, after playing with pets, after using the bathroom, after changing diapers, after handling garbage, before and after caring for someone who is sick, before and after treating a wound or cut, and after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing.

To properly wash your hands follow these steps, which should take a minimum of 20 seconds:

  • Wet your hands with water and then apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together and scrub them well, making sure to include the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Rinse your hands.
  • Dry your hand using a clean towel or air dry.

Keeping food contact surfaces and hands clean are equally important. Practicing these essential steps will help prevent the spread of bacteria and other germs and reduce your risk for illnesses.

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