Are You Spreading Germs?

This is the season when many kids have to miss school because of sickness. Practicing good personal hygiene when working with food helps prevent the spread of infections like colds and the flu.

Properly washing hands with soap and hot water before cooking or anytime you handle food is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of bad germs. When you touch anything other than food you are working on, it’s necessary to wash hands. After handling raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, wash hands. When you are interrupted to answer the phone, pet the dog, or use the bathroom, then it’s really important to wash hands thoroughly.

Use soap and rub hands together under warm running water for 20 seconds at least. (This is about the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday). Wash the back of hands, scrub finger nails, wrists, and in between fingers. Rinse and use paper towel to turn off water. Dry hands on a paper towel or clean towel.

In addition to good hand washing, it is also important to clean all food preparation surfaces often. Wash countertops, dishes, utensils, and cutting boards with hot soapy water. If you use sponges or dishcloths, dispose of them often or wash them in the dishwasher or clothes washer. This helps reduce bacterial contamination.

Don’t work with food if you have been sick with anything within the past 24 hours. Use plastic gloves if you have a cut on your hands or an open sore. Sneezing and coughing over or near food are unsanitary and should be avoided.

You can help prevent the spread of germs by following these basic personal hygiene practices when handling food.