Because cooking can be a messy process, all areas of the kitchen need frequent cleaning to keep them fresh, grease-free, and sanitary. Scrubbing and cleaning kitchen surfaces is as much a function of health and hygiene as it is good housekeeping.
The New Rules
Disease-causing bacteria, frequently found in raw poultry and meat, have become a serious menace in recent years. The effects of salmonella and some strains of E. coli, for example, can be painful for everyone and deadly for susceptible people. The United States Food and Drug Administration recommends the following steps for cutting down harmful bacteria in the kitchen.
Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets. Also wash your hands in hot, soapy water, scrubbing a full minute, after handling raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counters with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.
Wash dishrags, dishtowels, and sponges in the washing machine with hot water. Sponges can also be cleaned in the upper rack of the dishwasher while plastic cutting boards can go on the lower racks.
Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from each other and from other foods in the shopping cart at the grocery and in the refrigerator at home.
Never put cooked food on an unwashed platter that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within two hours of a meal.
Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator or under cold running water, not on the counter.