Kitchen Hygiene when Handling Food
Food preparation is undoubtedly a must for human survival. The food may be eaten raw or cooked. Whichever the case, it must be clean to avoid ill health caused by bacteria and germs. It is therefore important to ensure every aspect of kitchen hygiene when handling food.
Before you start, wear an apron. You must also wear a head cover to prevent hair from entering the food being prepared. All kitchen clothing and napkins must be washed and disinfected on a regular basis to avoid contamination. Soap must always be used and you have to make sure that they are completely dry before using them again. White or other bright colored clothing are most advisable because dirt and stains are easier to notice.
If you (or someone else in the kitchen) have flu or coughing, you must wear a face mask. It will prevent contamination of food and utensils. If someone else can prepare the food then let him do it and take a rest. You can however stay in the kitchen to guide him if need be.
And Then Wash….
Having gathered all the ingredients you need, wash them to remove dirt and any soil particles. It will also remove any pesticides remaining on the foods. For those eaten raw like vegetables and fruits, the pesticides may cause illnesses and because the presence of some pesticides in the body may take a long time to be noticed, it may eventually lead to long-term complications.
When washing, it is advisable to start with the foods that are least dirty, especially so if you have a garden and grow your veggies. You can always wash for a second time especially the veggies and root tubers like cabbages and potatoes since they grow either nearer to the ground or underground.
Before cutting the food, all knives and cutting boards must be clean and free from any food particles from previous cooking. All utensils must be thoroughly washed after use. This will ensure that no particles remain because germs and bacteria may grow on the surface of the utensils posing a health hazard. You should use different cutting boards for vegetables and fruits, and for meats and fish. This will help reduce cross-contamination.
All cooking surfaces must be clean and free from spills. Cut the ingredients and place them in bowls in one place to avoid making the entire working area dirty. It will make the ingredients easily accessible once you start cooking.
When cooking, clean utensils with soap so that by the time you finish, most of the bowls and knives you used are clean. This way you will have fewer utensils to wash after enjoying your meal. Ensure also that you wash them immediately and do not pile them in the sink. This has the benefit of avoiding unsightly dirty dishes which may attract insects posing health hazards. It will also make preparation for the next meal easier since you will have clean utensils.