Kitchen safety is probably the least sexy thing about meal prep and eating healthy. The good news is that you only must learn the basics once if you consistently implement the guidelines. It’s also a lesson to teach kids and grandkids so they start with the knowledge when they reach cooking age. Prevention and planning are key to success.
Do you have one cutting board that’s only used for raw meats and a different cutting board for produce and bread? You should because it reduces the chances of cross-contamination. Imagine one cutting board used to prepare raw chicken, briefly washed and then used to cut apples. The raw chicken remnants are still on the cutting board and will attach to the apples, bad combination. Heart.org recommends sanitizing plastic “with dishwashing liquid and water, then with a solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Soak the board in the sink with the bleach solution for several minutes. Rinse with clear water and air dry or pat dry with clean paper towels.” (www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/cooking-skills/preparing/be-the-star-on-your-kitchen-safety-squad )
Kitchen clutch also includes the grilling food. It’s a great time to step up your food handling etiquette with Memorial Day and July 4th around the corner. Pop quiz! Where do you put the uncooked hot dogs and ground beef and ribs in the refrigerator? “Store them on the bottom shelf to avoid any escaped raw juices from dripping down on other food” and “keep raw meat and fish in a well-sealed container or package” (www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/cooking-skills/preparing/be-the-star-on-your-kitchen-safety-squad). Consider putting the ribs in the freezer if they don’t fit in the bottom of your refrigerator. Yes, that means extra prep time for thawing.
Your hand washing game is likely already strong from Covid precautions. It’s worth noting that we should “remember to scrub the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.” Also, “wash your hands again after touching raw meat, using the bathroom, touching your hair or face, blowing your nose or handling pets.” (www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/cooking-skills/preparing/be-the-star-on-your-kitchen-safety-squad )
Sponges also have a protocol for keeping your food and family safe. The above link runs down the details and logistics. Extra work? Yes. Less painful than getting sick or family getting sick. You bet!