There’s really no “good time of year” to give or get food poisoning, is there? But during the holidays, we tend to host and attend more food-centered parties and celebrations, which increases the odds that somebody might get sick.
And Lord knows, you don’t want to be the person who ruins Thanksgiving because you defrosted the turkey incorrectly and half your relatives end up in the ER.
Each year, foodborne diseases cause one in six Americans to get sick, 128,000 to be hospitalized, and 3,000 to die, according to the CDC.
Not too festive, huh?
With the holidays approaching, we thought it was a good time to consult with our friends at Maid Brigade (green cleaning experts) and see if they could recommend any tips to prevent food poisoning at holiday meals.
“Food is such a huge part of the holiday season and the kitchen can become a hot spot for germs,” says Marie Stegner, consumer health advocate for Maid Brigade. “Understanding how to properly clean and disinfect will help keep your holidays happy and healthy.”
But guess what? Two out of three people use improper disinfection techniques, according to research conducted by Maid Brigade. Oh noze!
“Just spraying and wiping your disinfectant is not effective in killing bacteria and germs,” Stegner says. “Proper disinfection is a three-step process.”
To help you prepare for the busy holiday season, check out this Foodborne Illness Infographic featuring proper disinfection tips:
5 ways to combat food poisoning in your kitchen
1. Drink dispensers
Drink dispensers are an opportunity for cross contamination. If you refilled your water glass during meal prep the germs from your hands can transfer from your glass to the dispenser trigger, putting others at risk. Clean, then wipe with diluted white vinegar.
2. Cutting boards
Cutting boards are hot spots for salmonella and listeria. Use only non-porous chopping blocks and cutting boards for food preparation as wood grain can harbor bacteria. Clean with hot water and soap as soon as possible, avoiding contact with other dishes and utensils. Disinfect naturally with diluted lemon juice; then rinse again with hot water.
3. Light switches
If you haven’t thoroughly washed your hands or re-contaminated them before leaving the room, you could be contaminating a high touch surface, putting others at risk. Clean, then wipe light switches with diluted white vinegar daily and after meal prep when meat and fish are on the menu.
4. Handles, controls, faucets
Appliance door handles, control panels, and faucets seem nearly impossible to avoid touching while your hands are contaminated. Clean after every meal prep with diluted white vinegar.
E. coli, as well as mold and yeast, lurk on spatulas. Pull apart if possible and clean completely to remove food residues and bacteria from inside the spatula and on the end of the handle.
For more holiday cleaning and healthy living tips, check out Marie Stegner’s Maid Brigade blog.