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10 Unexpected Ways to Get Food Poisoning

        Health | Food Safety

6
Unsanitary Kitchen Practices
Don't wipe the kitchen down with a germy sponge. Make sure it's clean. George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock
Don't wipe the kitchen down with a germy sponge. Make sure it's clean. George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

Meal prep can be pretty chaotic. First something splatters then a pot boils over and the next thing you know you're mistakenly using the same cutting board for your carrots that you just used for chicken. Whoops. Sanitation corners are sometimes cut, often by accident, leaving us at elevated risk for cross-contamination. Although it doesn't seem like there's very much harm in using the same knife, tongs or other utensils, it really does behoove you to separate the items you use for meat prep from the others. So if a platter is used to carry raw meat to the grill grab another one to transport the cooked product, unless you want to dress your burger with ketchup, tomato and a heaping helping of bacteria [source: Zamora].

Heating meats and dishes to an appropriate temperature is crucial to killing any illness-causing bacteria. The experts recommend using a meat thermometer to check internal temperature of poultry, seafood, meat and egg-based dishes. For example, pork, ground beef, egg dishes and casseroles should be heated to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 C), with chicken checking in at 165 F (74 C) [source: Home Food Safety]. Even if rare is your preference, the risk might not be worth the dubious reward that is foodborne illness.

When cleaning up, be sure to do a thorough job with an antibacterial solvent and a clean cloth or sponge. Using an old, germ-ridden sponge is a fantastic way to help the spread of bacteria and viruses as far as the eye cannot see in your kitchen. Not sure about the sanitation quality of your sponge? Certain types can actually be run through the dishwasher or microwaved, effectively removing 99 percent of germs [source: Amidor]. Or spring for a new one because sponges are far less pricey than the average emergency room visit.


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