2. Keep It Clean
JUST as a surgeon protects his patients by washing his hands, sterilizing his instruments, and maintaining a clean operating room, you can protect your family by keeping yourself, your kitchen, and your food clean.
● Wash your hands.
The Public Health Agency of Canada states that “hands spread an estimated 80 percent of common infectious diseases like the common cold and flu.” So wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating, after using the toilet, and when you prepare a meal.
● Keep your kitchen clean.
One study revealed that while the bathroom tended to be the cleanest place in the home, “the sites in the households that were contaminated with the most fecal bacteria were the sponge/dishcloths in the kitchen.”
Therefore, change dishcloths frequently, and use hot soapy water or disinfectant to clean kitchen surfaces. Granted, this is not always easy. A woman named Bola lives in a home without tap water. “It is a big challenge,” she says. “But we never skimp on soap and water, so they are always available to keep our kitchen and home clean.”
● Rinse produce.
Before produce is sold, it may have been contaminated by unclean water, animals, fecal matter, or other raw food items. Therefore, even if you plan to peel fruits or vegetables, rinse them thoroughly to remove harmful bacteria. This takes time. “When I prepare a salad,” says Daiane, a mother in Brazil, “I try not to rush, so that I am sure to wash the greens thoroughly.”
● Separate raw meat.
To prevent the spread of bacteria, seal or securely wrap all raw meat, poultry, and seafood, and separate them from other food. Use a separate cutting board and knife for those foods, or wash your cutting board and knife thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after raw meat or seafood touches it.
Now that you, your tools, and your ingredients are clean, how can you prepare meals safely?
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TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN: “We teach our children to wash their hands before eating and to wash or discard food that has fallen on the floor.”—Hoi, Hong Kong