Prevent foodbourne illnesses by breaking these 3 bad kitchen habits

BAD HABIT #1 Not washing rags and cloth properly

Your kitchen cloth and rags may seem clean, but as bacteria is microscopic, you can't really determine if your linens are bacteria-free with your naked eye.

"All it takes is one bacteria to re-populate the surface. And as table surfaces are never completely smooth, there may be gaps where bacteria can thrive," explains infectious disease specialist, Dr Leong Hoe Nam.

Cleaning services Helpling suggests changing dish clothes after wiping surfaces that has come into contact with raw meat or its juice.

"Rinse the towels with hot water before putting them in the washing machine, and wash your cloths at the hottest washing machines temperature at least twice a week to kill any lingering bacteria," says experts at Helpling.

You can also leave the cloths in a pot filled with boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes (after rinsing) and then dry them. A damp cloth can attract tons of harmful bacteria within hours of sitting next to your sink, so make sure it's fully dried!

(More tips on kitchen towels here)

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BAD HABIT #2 Not handling meat packagings properly

Harmful bacteria such as E. coli and  Campylobacter can last on your food packaging for several hours, so you should be careful when handling packaging. "These bacteria can be transferred quite easily from contaminated packaging to other kitchen surfaces, increasing the chances of cross-contamination from hands to kitchen surfaces such as worktops and press handles easily," says Dr Leong.

When you do your shopping, pack your raw meat and poultry separately from your ready-to-eat foods. If you use reusable bags you should keep one bag for raw meats only. 

BAD HABIT #3 Not cleaning your produce bin 

If you think there is no need to clean your fridge's produce bin because there's only fruits and vegetables in there, we have news for you: Naturally occurring bacteria in fresh fruits and vegetables can also cause cross-contamination in your refrigerator.

"A recent NSF International study found that the refrigerator produce compartment was the number one “germiest” area in consumers’ kitchens, so prevent the buildup of bacteria (which can cause food poisoning) by washing these bins with hot water and liquid soap," advises Dr Leong. Rinse thoroughly, and dry with a clean cloth towel or air dry outside of the refrigerator.