Disinfecting Refrigerators and Countertops

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    Regular cleaning of your counter tops, cutting boards and refrigerator is necessary to reduce dangerous bacteria buildup in your kitchen. Bacteria can often be unseen and odorless so just because the surface looks visibly clean of dirt does not mean it is safe.

    To disinfect kitchen surfaces we need to use a bleach solution.

    Prepare the solution by adding 1 cup of household bleach to a gallon of water and then add a table spoon of detergent to provide suds.

    To disinfect surfaces you need the bleach solution to work for a period of time so using a sponge or plastic spray bottle apply the solution to all the surfaces and let it stand for at least 5 minutes.

    Once the bleach has had time to work you can use plain water to remove the residue.

    Continue to wash the area until all soap is also removed.

    How often should you do this?

    In professional Kitchens Bleaching of cutting boards and counter tops happens as needed or at least once a day.

    Walk in refrigerators are emptied and washed once a day or at least a few times a week.

    When ever meats, fish, poultry and other products are cut the cutting boards are washed and bleached between each change of species. Meaning you don’t cut chicken after cutting beef until you wash and disinfect the cutting board.

    Professional Kitchens will have special disinfectant dispensers that work with the water spray attachments at their sinks. This is costly but easy to maintain. At home we have to make sure we have a bottle of bleach solution to cleanup after we cook our meals.

    The use of Nylon Cutting boards instead of wood will also aid in preventing bacteria transmission.

    Never use the same knife or cutting board to prepare raw meat and cut cooked meat.  After you prepare the product to be cooked you must wash all utensils and cutting surfaces before you use them again.

    If you are cleaning a Kitchen after a power outage you should discguard any meats or perishable products that have remained within the danger heat zone for more then 3 hours.  The Danger Zone for perishable food products is 40F to 140F . If you keep meats warmer then 140F or cooler then 40F then bacteria will be controlled but when food sits out and it is with in the danger zone you  only have a certain amount of time before you must eat it. Three Hours maximum is probably a good estimate for most general products but anything over an hour will require reheating to 140F for 5 minutes or more to kill any bacteria.

    Again this is just a basic rule and you should follow always follow stricter guidelines that you can obtain from Federal Food Safety Regulations.

     http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Refrigeration_&_Food_Safety/

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