We all know start our meal preparation by washing our hands, to use a separate chopping board for raw meat and an antibacterial cleaner on surfaces. But there are some things we do that still put us at risk of food poisoning and spreads germs in the kitchen.
Here are the mistakes you might be making…
Touching your phone
Whether you're using it to follow a recipe, video call a family member while you chop or scroll through social media while you wait for the water to boil, using our mobiles in the kitchen has become the norm. So you might be shocked to find out that a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that one in six smartphones have faecal matter on them. Plus, if you are preparing raw food, you risk transferring germs such as salmonella or E-coli to your hands and phone, which can reach your face when you take a call.
Our advice: Keep your phone out of the kitchen where possible! If you need it with you, make sure you wash your hands and your phone well before touching it. Don’t use cleaning fluids on the screen, such as windows cleaning spray, as this could damage any oleophobic coating (these help stop fingerprints showing up). Instead, use a dry microfibre cloth to remove dirt. Wipe the screen in a circular motion to avoid scratching it.
Stroking your pets
Think about how dogs greet each other and then think about the types of germs you could be transferring to your food… If that's not enough to make you grimace, you also need to consider where they've recently been: in the litter tray, rolling around in the garden or eating food. Pets can be a hive of bacteria, which is obviously a huge health risk.
Re-dipping the spoon
When you’re making sauce, testing the flavours is key. And sometimes this means that, subconsciously or not, we might eat straight off of the same spoon we use to stir the pot. Doing this no doubt means that you will be putting your saliva into the dish, which could contain micro-organisms such as staphylococcus aureus.
The Government guidelines say that food heated to over 75C, or 70C for a minimum of 2 minutes, is hot enough to destroy bugs, but anything at room temperature can breed bacteria. If staphylococcus gets into something that isn’t cooked at a high heat, like a hollandaise sauce or chilled condiments, it could grow and produce toxins that can give you food poisoning.