I’ll have the berry plate, without the salmonella please…

There have been tons of recalls in the last few years. Remember the e.coli breakout with spinach? Or how about the most recent e.coli scare with Chipotle? With food safety issues constantly in the news, it’s no wonder you guys are worried about the health of you and your families. But the solution is actually fairly simple. A cleaner kitchen is a safer kitchen. Here are tips for cleaning everything from your cutting boards to those gunked-up sponges in your sink.

Cutting Boards:

There have been conflicting reports about the relative safety of wooden versus plastic boards. Plastic boards can go into the dishwasher, which certainly makes cleaning them more convenient, but it does limit the size of the boards you can use. To remove stubborn stains, use an overnight bleach bath, which also sanitizes the board. Put 1 tablespoon of bleach per quart of water in the sink and immerse the board dirty side up. When the board floats to the surface, drape a clean white kitchen towel over the board, and then splash the towel with another 1/4 cup of bleach. If your wooden board has odors that regular washing can’t seem to remove, scrub the board with a paste made of 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon water, followed by your routine washing with hot, soapy water. Also, it’s a good idea to protect wooden boards by occasionally rubbing them with food-grade mineral oil. Don’t use vegetable oil, which will turn rancid. The oil soaks in the board and creates a moisture barrier that will protect your board. Do this every few weeks when the board is new; after that, a few times a year is fine.


The microwave does a good job of killing bacteria but it can cause the sponge to catch on fire, so it’s not an option for cleaning your sponge. A dishwasher might kill bacteria if the water is hot enough, but a safer bet is to boil sponges in a pot of water for 3 minutes

Cleaning Produce:

A spray bottle filled with three parts water and one part distilled white vinegar can be used to clean produce with a smooth surface, such as apples and pears. Just spray with vinegar solution and then rinse under tap water. In our tests, this method removed 98% of surface bacteria and was as effective as washing fruit with antibacterial soap. Berries can be washed in a bowl filled with three parts water and one part distilled white vinegar. Drain, rinse with tap water, and then spin dry in a salad spinner lined with paper towels.

Avoiding Cross Contamination:

Bacteria loves to move from one surface, or one food, to another, so don’t help it along. There’s just one simple rule here: Keep raw and cooked foods separate.

Jamie Bisouilis
Chef De Cuisine, FFT Dining Services

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Posted on June 11th, 2015 at 3:00 pm [ssba]