IN YOUR KITCHEN
Although a quick daily clean might keep some of the bacteria at bay, it’s important to remember that germs are lurking in the dark corners often overlooked. Since the kitchen tends to be where family and friends congregate, not only is it alarming to discover that things may not be as clean as you thought they were, bacteria can come in contact with the food you eat. That raises your risk of getting sick.
These are three places in the kitchen where germs like to hide, along with things you can do to clean up your act.
It’s true, germs can and do hang out inside your refrigerator, especially in the meat and vegetable compartments. In the National Science Foundation (NSF) study, these areas tested positive for E.coli, salmonella or listeria 36 percent of the time. To keep food safe, discard food that’s past its prime, and maintain a consistent temperature level in the fridge, ideally between 40 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You should also get in the habit of regularly cleaning refrigerator door handles and meat and vegetable drawers.
Be honest. How long has that kitchen towel been hanging on that loop by the kitchen sink? A week? A month? Can’t remember? If you’re not careful about how often you wash your towels, your kitchen rags could become a breeding ground for dangerous, stomach-sickening germs. According to researchers from the University of Mauritius, towels can develop some nasty bacteria — the kind that causes foodborne illnesses — when they’re used for a full month. Yuck. And don’t forget the kitchen sink sponge. Other research suggests this so-called cleaning tool harbors some of the nastiest germs, with three-quarters of them contaminated with coliform bacteria, according to a study completed by NSF International.