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6 Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

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6 Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

There’s a great debate in the countertop industry about which countertops breed bacteria and which ones do not. I think it’s all hype. It doesn’t matter if you have a Corian, granite or wood countertop. They all breed bacteria. While wood offers more crevices for bacteria to flourish in, the grout around granite and Corian countertops is an equal opportunity locale for bacteria to breed in. Stainless steel is far less porous than any other countertop material, and easier to sterilize, but improper food handling can deem your expensive stainless steel countertop as toxic to your intestines as wood can. Consider that most restaurants have stainless steel counters in their kitchens, and the Center for Disease Control reports that 71 percent of foodborne illnesses are from restaurant food.

Christmas is a particularly risky time for foodborne illnesses, since people who are unfamiliar with handling large amounts of poultry are handling, um, large amounts of poultry. No countertop material can protect you from foodborne illness. Instead, these steps can. Wait — first, read this exhaustively thorough guide to cooking poultry safely from the USDA.

1. Before you prepare Christmas dinner, sterilize your counters, sink, and cutting boards. First, scrub them with hot (boiling) soapy water (and then throw out the sponges you used to scrub them). Then spray a solution of bleach and water on them. Wipe off the bleach solution with disposable paper towels. If you’re all natural and won’t use bleach, you can use vinegar. Generally I’m natural at home, but when cooking a large meal for a crowd, I pull out the big guns and use bleach to prep my kitchen counter and cutting boards.

2. It’s more environmentally friendly to use dish towels than paper towels, but they breed bacteria like nobody’s business. If you’re handling poultry, meat or raw eggs, just use paper towels.  If you can’t bear to throw away paper towels, then be sure to have a stock of clean dish towels on hand so that when one gets contaminated with raw meat or eggs, you can replace it with a clean one.

Related: Would Your Kitchen Pass a Health Inspection?

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Read more: Christmas, Diet & Nutrition, Food, Health, Health & Safety, Holidays, Home, Household Hints, Life, Non-Toxic Cleaning, ,

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11:38PM PDT on May 26, 2013

Thanks for the reminders. Great info!

8:31AM PST on Dec 7, 2011

Good reminders.

5:17AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

Thanks for sharing

7:50AM PST on Feb 8, 2011


6:49PM PST on Jan 26, 2011


9:47AM PST on Jan 13, 2011


6:04AM PST on Dec 31, 2010


7:01PM PST on Dec 29, 2010

"If you’re handling poultry, meat or raw eggs, just use paper towels"
Just like what I do these time. btw, nice tips

10:07PM PST on Dec 28, 2010

i guess that i picked up some type of cleaning ocd while working in the health care industry...i go through everything with antimicrobial disenfectant wipes, including my hands, and i switch cutting boards, knives and utensils for every type of food, yep, must be ocd.

10:09AM PST on Dec 28, 2010

Vinegar is always my go to cleaner. Bleach is just way too harsh. The smell of it hurts my chest. Yuck. Luckily I'm vegetarian, so I don't have to worry about any cross contamination. My mother-in-law cuts meat, veggies, fruit all on the same cutting board with the same knife. And she's a bleach fanatic (which could be why she has such a hard time breathing when she cleans...) My husband was feeling a bit ill after this Xmas meal. I bet all that cross contamination is to blame!

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