What Are Some General Safety and Hygiene Tips for the Kitchen?

What Are Some General Safety and Hygiene Tips for the Kitchen?

Two general safety and hygiene policies to follow while working in a kitchen are to use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables and to wash cutting boards immediately after use. Instead of using kitchen towels to dry dishes, allow dishes to air dry after washing them; kitchen towels can harbor germs.

To avoid the spread of bacteria, set refrigerators to 40 F or cooler, and set freezers to 0 F. Wash fruits and vegetables, especially those that are consumed raw, to remove germs. Keep ready-to-eat foods cool or reheat them per the manufacturer's instructions and eat them as soon as possible. Keeping such foods for long periods of time, even under refrigeration, increases the likelihood of bacteria growth, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Home and professional cooks should have food thermometers on hand to ensure proper cooking of meats.

Cook all poultry to 165 F and most other meats to 145 F. Fully cooked ham is safe to eat when heated to 140 F.

Regular hand washing also prevents the spread of bacteria in the kitchen. According to the World Health Organization, a good policy for washing your hands is to wash with soap under running water for as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.