Was It Something I Ate?  >  Clean It! Make It Safe!



You canít see, taste or smell them.

They are sneaky little critters that can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto hands, cutting boards, utensils, countertops, and food.

They are foodborne bacteria ó and if eaten, they can cause foodborne illness.

Follow these simple guidelines to keep food clean and safe to eat:


Personal Hygiene

Washing hands often is the most effective way to reduce the spread of bacteria and other things that can cause foodborne illness.

It is important to always wash hands before and after preparing food; after using the bathroom; changing a diaper; tending to a sick person; smoking; blowing nose, coughing, sneezing; and/or after handling pets.

Rub-a-dub-dub! C-LES says to moisten hands with warm water, then apply soap and rub hands together for 20 seconds before rinsing. Dry hands with a clean towel, preferably paper. Twenty seconds is about the amount of time it takes to say your ABCís slowly.


Kitchen Hygiene

Wash countertops with hot soapy water before and after preparing food.

Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, handles, faucets, and counter tops with hot soapy water before and after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.

More information on cleaning the kitchen can be found in A Little Elbow Grease.


Food Hygiene

Fruits and Vegetables

How would you like knowing that excess bacteria ended up in your body, and you could have prevented it? Since it is hard to recognize bacteria with the naked eye, you need to be aware that they are present not only in rotten, damaged or bruised fruits and vegetables, but may also be present in nice looking ones.

Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten, before cutting and/or eating.

Rub firm-skin fruits and vegetables under running tap water, or scrub with a clean vegetable brush, then rinse.

Remove and throw away damaged or bruised areas on produce. Bacteria can thrive in these places.

Special cleaning agents are not needed. Plain water works best and is the safest for washing produce.

Never use detergent or bleach to wash fresh fruits or vegetables. These products are not intended for consumption.

For more information on cleaning fruits and vegetables, go to:


Cans and Can Openers

Wipe tops of cans with a clean damp cloth before opening.

Wash can openers each time you use them too! Dirt can be let in the can as it is being opened.

What Do You Not Need To Wash Before Cooking?

Raw meat, pork, veal, lamb, seafood or poultry should not be washed before cooking. Any bacteria which might be on the outside would be destroyed by cooking the meat to a safe internal temperature. Washing may leave potentially harmful bacteria in the sink, bacteria that might multiply if the sink is not cleaned thoroughly, especially around the drain. The water may also splash onto the counter or anything else in the area.

Eggs purchased in a supermarket or grocery store should not be washed before using. They have been washed previously and coated to protect the egg. Farm-fresh eggs should be washed before cracking.





What Did You Learn?

What is the minimum length of time you should wash your hands to send bacteria down the drain? (Choose one answer)


What is the proper way to clean fruits and vegetables? (Choose one answer)


Which of the following DO NOT need to be washed before cooking? (Choose one answer)




Please Select Another Topic to Continue

Letís Start with the Basics

Better Safe than Sorry ó What Not to Eat

Store It Right

The Right Tools for the Job

A Little Elbow Grease

What Is Hot and What Is Not



Last Update: 04.06.12

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