Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Listeria’

A former student said, “I learned a lot about sanitation from you.”

I gave a puzzled look and said, “But I didn’t teach that course to your class.”

“Oh, yes you did. Every time we walked into that kitchen you said, ‘Wash your hands.’”

True. I didn’t teach the course, but I did teach the practice. Clean hands are important, but even that isn’t enough to protect your family from foodborne illnesses.  Germs accumulate on unsuspecting surfaces. While you may scrub your sink and clean the counters—even sanitize them, germs lurk in less obvious places.

The non-profit science organization, NSF International, recruited twenty families to check fourteen kitchen items for four types of microorganisms related to foodborne illness: E coli, salmonella, yeast and mold, and listeria. All items tested positive for yeast and mold. E. coli and salmonella were found in thirty-six percent of all items, and listeria was present in fourteen percent of the items tested.

Items having the most pathogens, in order of frequency, included:

  • Refrigerator water dispenser. That handy gadget frequently handled and rarely cleaned, ranked number one on the naughty chart of germ haven. Dispensers may develop mold and yeast that can cause allergic reactions and respiratory ailments.
  • Rubber spatulas. Unless molded into one piece, spatulas will harbor germs under the scraper blade. Incidences of E. coli, and yeast and mold have been reported. Take apart and clean in the dishwasher or scrub with hot soapy water.
  • Blender gaskets. Many believe the upper jar container is adequately cleaned when put into the dishwasher without taking apart. Not so. The blade and gasket may harbor salmonella, E. coli, and yeast and mold that cake around and under the blade. For effective sanitation, remove the blade and gasket and scrub with hot soapy water or place individual pieces into the dishwasher.
  • Refrigerator vegetable compartment. Produce can transmit  bugs. Mold and yeast accumulate rapidly from deteriorating fruits and vegetables. Salmonella, listeria (think cantaloupe) may be present on fresh produce. Clean the compartment monthly or more often if needed.
  • Refrigerator ice dispenser. These are especially susceptible to yeast and mold and can be harmful for those with allergies. At least monthly turn off the ice maker, empty the ice from the ice bin, and wash the bin with dish soap and warm water. Occasionally wash the system with vinegar, rinse thorough, and toss the first ice cubes.
  • Refrigerator meat compartment. Fresh meats can be disasters waiting to happen. They are prone to E. coli, salmonella, plus yeast and molds. Keep meats away from other foods to prevent contamination. For both fruit and vegetable compartments and meat compartments, wash with warm water with one to two tablespoons baking soda per gallon of water.

Other likely culprits to spread foodborne illnesses include can openers and food storage containers with rubber seals. Place in the dishwasher or clean thoroughly with hot soapy water after using.

Remember the areas in your kitchen that often get less attention yet may hide pathogens. Keep everyone safe with a little precaution and extra cleaning effort. Don’t make your family sick.

For a great visual see http://www.nsf.org/consumer/newsroom/pdf/where_germs_are_hiding_infographic.pdf

For more information see http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57576902/where-are-germs-hiding-in-your-kitchen-study-finds-surprising-results/

Read Full Post »