Hygiene is important when cooking in the kitchen. This is why cooks are often seen wearing net hair caps and frequently washing their hands. These measures are a part of their routine so that they can maintain a clean environment. But, is just us being clean enough to be able to ensure the cleanliness of our kitchen? Of course not. When it comes to having a clean environment for cooking and eating, it is more than just us keeping ourselves clean, but also the utensils we use.
It is important for us to not cook with dirty hands or stray hairs falling all over but it is just as important for the kitchen to be clean. To maintain a germ-free environment, one must make sure that all the kitchen utensils are as clean as possible. Having clean surfaces, utensils, dishes, and equipment will prevent them from becoming a source of bacteria. Not maintaining proper hygiene of these utensils can end up being the cause of food poisoning as they can end up infecting your food with bacteria.
To avoid this, there are many ways of making sure your kitchen is clean and bacteria-free.
Three types of cross-contamination can occur while cooking. These include the contamination from food to food, equipment to food, or from people to food. It is important to use different utensils and chopping boards for raw and cooked food. This is to avoid the cross-contamination of any harmful microorganism from one food to another through the utensils and equipment.
Similarly, try to store food in different clean containers according to their type. This will help them not cross-contaminate one another. It is preferred to store food in containers with lids. In case you do not have a container with a lid, you can also wrap it with cling film.
All surfaces in the kitchen should be regularly cleaned or wiped with detergent. This includes any worktops, kitchen slabs, stoves, or ovens present within the kitchen. After cleaning these surfaces with a detergent, they should then be disinfected with any kind of trustworthy antibacterial product. This ritual of cleanliness is something that should become a part of your monthly routine.
For everyday use of utensils and kitchen surfaces, it is necessary to immediately wipe them with disinfectant wipes right after you are done with the preparation o food. There are other alternatives to disinfectants too such as sprays. When wiping your utensils or surfaces clean, it is better to use disposable cloths or wipes so that the risk of decontamination decreases.
This method of disinfection is not only necessary for surfaces but also for the containers being used to store food. Most industries have started to use machines in the production of food and containers such as using levapack screw capping machines for cans and jars. This helps in having relatively cleaner packaging as the cans would not have gone through multiple hands while being manufactured. However, now that you have the container, it might have been contacted by various hands and germs which is why it needs to be regularly cleaned as well.
Regular hygiene check of your cloths
We often forget that the cloths or wipes that are being used to regularly clean our kitchen utensils or surfaces can also start storing bacteria. As mentioned before, it would be preferable to use disposable cloth or wipes. Though this option might not be financially available to all. In that case, no need to worry as you can try to alternate between different washing-up cleaning wipes each week.
Remember to disinfect each washing-up cloth overnight before using it the next day. Along with this, try your best to always use dry cleaning wipes. Damp cleaning wipes can breed hundreds or millions of harmful bacteria which is why it is important to dry them immediately after use. This is something you might need to be constantly aware of if you live in a humid climate as bacterias have been known for spreading quicker under humid weather conditions.
Maintaining the right temperature
Certain kinds of bacteria rely on the temperature to grow which is why it is important to maintain the right temperature of food. Food should be served at a temperature of at least 70 degrees celsius. This is to avoid bacteria from developing within the food as the temperature within 5 degrees celsius and 60 degrees celsius is considered the “Temperature Danger Zone”. This is also why a kitchen must have a working freezer or fridge so that food can be stored within it without the risk of it going bad.
This also applies when reheating food. Food needs to be reheated properly to make sure the temperature exceeds at least 75 degrees celsius. This helps kill off any bacteria or germs that might have existed within the food. When the food is not in use, you must defrost it properly so that no more bacteria develop overnight and it can be used later on. By constantly maintaining the right temperature of the food, you can also make it last longer.
By maintaining a hygienically clean environment, you can reduce the risk of food poisoning and maintain good health. All of these methods are simple yet efficient and once you ingrain them into your daily cooking routine, you will see a difference for yourself!