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  1. People at Risk of Foodborne Illness

Cleaning from Food Safety for Moms to Be

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Lifelong Food Safety from Food Safety for Moms to Be Main Page

How to prevent foodborne illness in four easy steps: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

Clean | Separate | Cook | Chill

En Español (Spanish)


Wash hands and surfaces often

Did you know that foodborne pathogens, such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses are invisible without a microscope and can spread throughout the kitchen and get on cutting boards, utensils, sponges, countertops, and food? If eaten, harmful foodborne pathogens can cause foodborne illness. Keep your family safe by keeping your hands, surfaces, and utensils clean. And, make sure fruits and veggies are washed thoroughly, too!

Clean Hands Are Key!

How to Wash Hands:

  • Wet hands thoroughly with warm water and add soap.
  • Thoroughly scrub your hands, wrists, fingernails, and in between fingers - for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse, then dry hands with a clean cloth towel or use a paper towel so you can throw the germs away!

When to Wash Hands:

  • Before and after handling food.
  • After using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.

Did You Know?
20% of consumers don't wash hands and kitchen surfaces before preparing food.

Keep These Handy...

  • Make sure there is handwashing soap and paper towels or a clean cloth towel at every sink in your home.
  • If soap and water aren't available, alcohol-based wipes or gel formulas are effective for sanitizing hands.

Surface Safety

Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils (including knives), and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next food.

Sanitize It!

Periodically sanitize kitchen countertops using a kitchen sanitizer. One teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach per quart of clean water can also be used to sanitize surfaces. Leave the bleach solution on the surface for about 10 minutes to be effective.

  • Replace excessively worn cutting boards (including plastic, non-porous acrylic, and wooden boards). Bacteria can grow in the hard-to-clean grooves and cracks.
  • Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. Then, throw the germs away with the towels! If you use cloth towels, launder them often, using hot water. Note: Don't dry your hands with a towel that was previously used to clean up raw meat, poultry, or seafood juices. These raw juices may contain harmful bacteria that can spread to your hands and throughout the kitchen.
Keep pets off kitchen counters and away from food.

Fridge TIPS

  • Clean your refrigerator regularly.
  • Wipe up spills immediately.
  • Clean inside walls and shelves with hot water and a mild liquid dishwashing detergent; then rinse.
  • Once a week, check expiration and "use by" dates, and throw out foods if the date has passed.

Fruits & Veggies

  • Rinse raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water to help remove germs and soils. (Don't use soap, detergents, or bleach solutions.)
  • For thick or rough-skinned vegetables and fruits (potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, etc.), use a small vegetable brush to remove surface dirt. Try to cut away damaged or bruised areas on produce - bacteria can thrive in these places.
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