Festive Food Safety

The holidays are filled with baking cooking and time spent together as a family. I love having the kids home and having a chance to spend baking with them, this year made more fun by the recent addition of a new Kitchen Aid Mixer. One thing I am super conscious of when cooking is food safety. I once read an article that said most cases of stomach flu were actually caused by food poisoning and since then have been extra careful in how I prepare and handle foods, especially ones like turkey, chicken and raw eggs in baking, favourites at this time of year.

Baking with kids

When we bake or cook we make sure to wash our hands very thoroughly before preparing food and as we are cooking we wash our hands in between handling different foods, especially eggs. We also make sure to clean our food preparation surfaces, before baking I clean with a vinegar solution, but once we are done I use Lysol antibacterial wipes. I know it seems extreme, but you can never be too careful, especially during the holidays when you are feeling large groups of people.

Baking with kids-2

I recently spent some time brushing up on germ safety while reading the Hygiene Council’s info sheet and was surprised by some of the things I learned. Did you know…

  • Your kitchen sink contains 100,000 times more germs than a bathroom or lavatory.
  • 50-80% of food-borne illnesses happen in the home.
  • Poor hygiene and food preparation can cause up to 90% of kitchen surfaces to be contaminated during the preparation of a meal.
  • Disinfectants are more effective than detergents in reducing germs on floors.
  • High chairs or places where children eat have worse levels of bacteria than toilet flushes.

I had no idea about some of those and I am glad now that I take extra precautions in food prep. Sometimes it pays to be a bit of a germaphobe. Here are some tips that you can use to help make food prep and safety easy at home.

  • Use disposable cloths or soak reusable ones in disinfectant overnight to clean them.
  • Store food in the fridge at 5°Cdon’t overfill and make sure cold air can circulate.
  • Disinfect the inside of your fridge regularly to remove microbes where food has dripped.
  • Foot-operated bins are more hygienic because they reduce the risk of hands picking up germs touching the bin lid.
  • Try using a quality antibacterial product that’s safe to use on food areas to remove harmful bacteria and viruses from your chopping board.
  • Use different knives and boards for meat and vegetables to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Soak, scrape, brush, scald, or wash all fruit, salad and vegetables.
  • Always cook all meat products thoroughly at 70°C.
  • Don’t leave cooked food sitting at room temperature for longer than two hours.
  • Remember to reheat at (at 70°C or above) and re-serve leftovers only once.

I do all of these things and regularly wipe down surfaces with Lysol to disinfect them, but I need to soak my cloths and sponges overnight.  What are your kitchen food safety tips and tricks?

For more tips on keeping your family healthy and safe this holiday season visit Lysol Canada on Facebook.

Disclosure: I am part of the Lysol® Healthy Families Ambassador Program by Mom Central. I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

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