Thursday, November 12, 2009

Safety in the Kitchen

Going beyond protecting young children from sharp objects, safe kitchen habits include protecting your family from infections, illnesses, and even death. Germs are sneaky. You can’t see, taste, or smell them. You might even be healthy but carry them and then pass them along to another person who does get ill.

Keep yourself, your loved ones, and your holiday guests free from disease-causing germs by following these steps:

  1. Clean everything and often: countertops, hands, cutting boards, bowls, mixing spoons, spatulas, sinks, and even can lids before opening. Clean up spills quickly.
  2. Cook thoroughly and according to directions.
  3. Pay attention to “discard by” dates. In general:
    • Soft cheeses, 1 week
    • Fresh eggs, 3-5 weeks
    • Fresh or cooked meat, 3-4 days
    • Fresh poultry, 1-2 days
    • Cooked poultry, 3-4 days
    • Opened lunch meat, 3-5 days
  4. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Put foods away before they’ve been at room temperature for two hours. Keep refrigerators cooler than 40 degrees and freezers below 0 degrees.
  5. Raw meats and drippings deserve extra attention. Keep them separate from foods that don’t need further cooking. Before using knives, cutting boards, countertops and sink surfaces touched by the meat or drippings clean them thoroughly.
To get your own “MBA” (Mastery of Mealtime Balancing Act) degree or for many more tips, visit the American Dietetic Association’s kitchen safety website. For more tips to stay healthy during the holiday season visit the Dayton Children's healthy lifestyles page.

About our expert - Rachel Riddiford, MS, RD, LD

Rachel has been an employee of Dayton Children's since 2004. She is currently the Manager of Clinical Dietetics and works as an eating disorder specialist in the Nutrition Clinic. Rachel completed her BS in Dietetics at Western Michigan University, Master's degree at University of Dayton, and dietetic internship at Indiana University/Purdue University. She has also completed an American Dietetic Association Pediatric and Adolescent Weight Management Certificate.

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