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Archive for Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Recipe for safety

Dos and don’ts of the kitchen

May 10, 2006

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Setting up the dream kitchen is about more than having the perfect floor tile or the best blender. It's also creating a safe place to prepare food.

From cuts and burns to slips and shocks, kitchens have safety pitfalls lurking around every corner.

And then there's the possibility of foodborne illness.

Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration for making sure your kitchen is a safe one.

For more information, you also can visit a new Web site on food safety established by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The address is www.ksfoodsafety.org.

Stove and counter

¢ Keep pot handles turned toward the wall so children can't grab them and adults don't bump into them.

¢ Keep flammable items such as dishcloths and potholders away from burners.

¢ Store appliances with cords away from the edges of counters so children can't grab onto them.

¢ Store knives in drawer or knife block.

¢ Install ground fault circuit interrupt (CFCI) electrical outlets near sink or other water outlets to reduce chance of shock.

Sanitation

¢ Don't let dishes sit longer than a couple of hours to avoid creating a bacteria soup. Also, wash dishcloths frequently - they also harbor bacteria - and sanitize sink drains with 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach and 1 quart of water.

¢ Wash your hands for 20 seconds in hot, soapy water before cooking or between touching raw meat and other foods or surfaces.

¢ Don't use the same cutting board for raw meat and other foods. Use cutting boards made of hard maple or a nonporous material such as plastic. Wash cutting boards in dishwasher or by rinsing with 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water.

¢ Always wash fruit and vegetables before cooking or eating.

¢ Refrigerate cooked foods as soon as possible. Don't keep food if it's been sitting out more than two hours.

¢ Don't thaw frozen foods at room temperature. Instead, refrigerate in microwave or refrigerator overnight, or place in water-tight plastic bags and submerge in cold water, changing the bag every 30 minutes.

Other suggestions:

¢ Set your refrigerator thermostat at 40 degrees or lower to reduce growth of bacteria. Set freezer at zero degrees or lower to stop bacterial growth, though it won't kill bacteria already present.

¢ Install child locks on chemicals stored under sinks, or just don't store the chemicals there.

¢ When using knives, cut away from the body on proper cutting surfaces, and keep blades sharp and clean. Don't try to catch a knife in mid-air if it's falling.

¢ Tie back hair and wear tightly fitting clothing to avoid spills and burns.

¢ Promptly clean up messes and spills to prevent falls.

¢ Make sure pilot lights work on gas stoves. If they don't, turn dials off and wait for gas to disperse before relighting.

¢ Wash countertops with bleach or commercial cleaning agents.

¢ Meat patties should be cooked to 160 degrees or above, as judged by a food thermometer. Ideal temperatures for other foods: 145 degrees for beef, lamb or veal; 160 degrees for pork and ground beef; 180 degrees for whole poultry and thighs; 170 degrees for poultry breasts; and 165 degrees for ground chicken or ground turkey.

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