National Food Safety Week: Preventing Illness In Your Kitchen

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Did you know that every year there is a week dedicated to raising awareness of Food Safety? This year, the national event takes place between 16-22 June.

The aim, according to the Food Standards Agency, is to help protect consumers against food poisoning.

For 2014, there is a particular focus on alerting you of a bug called ‘campylobacter’ – this may sound like a made up word, but it translates to ‘twisted bacteria’ and is the most common type of food poisoning in the whole of the UK. It is mostly linked to raw poultry, with over 50% of raw chicken containing the microbes (Food Safety News).

The message is simple – never wash your chicken, and always cook it fully!

To help you avoid any form of food poisoning, we’ve put together some of the most interesting (and occasionally shocking) statistics and facts linked to safety in the kitchen, as well as some top tips on how to avoid becoming ill.

Shocking Facts About Your Kitchen

You may already know someone who has fallen ill from food poisoning – or perhaps you have experienced it first-hand. Either way, anyone will know that it is not a pleasant experience.

Here are a few of the reasons that this illness is so common domestically:

  • Around 40% of food poisoning cases occur at home
  • Your sink contains around 100,000 more germs than a lavatory
  • A chopping board has roughly 200% more bacteria than the average toilet seat (yes, really!)
  • Bacteria can grow every 20 minutes – with a single bacterium able to multiply into over 8,000,000 cells in less than 24 hours
  • Putting hot food into a fridge causes an uneven cooling process, a popular reason for food poisoning
  • Your kitchen sponge traps in germs including E. coli and salmonella

 

(Source: NHS Livewell)

Bacteria that makes itself at home in your kitchen will almost always come from an external source – from the meat you buy to the surfaces you come into contact with throughout the day.

How To Prevent Illness

It’s not all doom and gloom – by taking these simple steps, you can significantly reduce the chances of getting sick.

Wash your hands

Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Throughout the day, you will touch many surfaces that could be teaming with germs – use anti-bacterial soap to ensure that your hands are kept clean and germ free.

Separate your chopping boards

Use different chopping boards for meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. Replace those which are scratched, as the grooves are a breeding ground for germs.

Clean and replace sponges, dishrags and tea towels regularly

After using these cleaning materials, wash them thoroughly with hot water and soap. Replace them after a few uses to avoid bacteria thriving.

Keep kitchen sides spotless

Use natural cleaning products and a clean cloth to wipe down your surfaces after preparing any meals.

Wipe down all handles

From your pantry door, to any cabinets and the refrigerator (don’t forget the faucet!) – wipe with a cloth and cleaning product.

Store food safely

Always keep raw meat on the bottom shelf of your fridge, so that if it leaks you do not run the risk of contaminating other foods.

Get the washing up done

As tempting as it may be, never leave your washing up overnight as this is ample opportunity for bacteria to multiply.

Cook food properly

A thermometer is a brilliant purchase so that you know whether or not your food is fully cooked. Always check before serving that meat and poultry is well done.

Clean your oven thoroughly

Although high cooking temperatures can eradicate most bacteria, preparing meals in a dirty oven is incredibly unhygienic. You can either wash the oven yourself, or consult a professional for a deep clean.

Now you know some of the most interesting statistics around food safety and are armed with the most effective ways of avoiding food poisoning.

If your kitchen sides, sink and fridge freezer are tip top but the thought of scrubbing out the oven is just too much, why not contact Ovenu today for a professional, efficient clean?