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September is National Food Safety Education Month

by Megan Sherman, Health and Wellness Educator
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We often think about cleaning and hand washing to prevent the spread of germs related to the common cold or flu but it’s also the main line of defense in the kitchen against food-borne illnesses. Cleaning is the first of four simple steps to help protect you and your loved ones from food poisoning. Following these tips before, during and after food preparation:

  • Wash hands often. Use clean soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Wash hands front and back, between fingers and under fingernails
  • Clean surfaces frequently. Use hot, soapy water to wash counters carefully before and after food preparation. Remember to clean other items commonly touched during cooking, such as cabinet knobs and refrigerator handles, too.
  • Prevent the spread of bacteria by keeping non-food items, such as mail, newspapers, purses and reusable tote bags, off counters and away from food and utensils.
  • Wash dishes, cutting boards and cookware in the dishwasher or in hot, soapy water, and always rinse them well.
  • Replace old cutting boards that are excessively worn with cracks or knife scars.
  • Change towels and dishcloths often. Damp and dirty towels can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Clean your microwave regularly because splatters can also collect bacteria.

To learn more visit www.cdc.gov/foodsafety