American Cleaning Institute - For Better Living

Nancy Bock 2012

Nancy Bock, Senior Vice President of Meetings & Education at the American Cleaning Institute®

Q. I'll be entertaining for Superbowl and for Valentine's Day this year. How can I stay "food safe" for large gatherings?

A.When it comes to cooking for a crowd, it’s always a good idea to review the Four Steps for Food Safety – Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. "Clean" is especially important for preventing the spread of germs that can cause foodborne illness: a disease that affects one in six Americans ever year.

"Clean" recommendations are:

  • Wash hands the right way – for 20 seconds with soap and running water. Washing your hands the right way can stop the spread of illness-causing bacteria.
  • Wash surfaces and utensils after each use. Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops.
    • Use paper towels or clean cloths to wipe up kitchen surfaces or spills. Wash cloths often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
    • Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.
    • As an extra precaution, you can use a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water to sanitize washed surfaces and utensils.
  • Wash fruits and veggies – but not meat, poultry, or eggs!
    • Even if you plan to peel fruits and veggies—it’s important to wash them first because bacteria can spread from the outside to the inside as you cut or peel them.
    • However, washing raw meat and poultry can actually help bacteria spread, because their juices may splash onto (and contaminate!) your sink and countertops.
    • In addition, commercial eggs are washed before sale. Any extra handling of the eggs, such as washing, may actually increase the risk of cross-contamination, especially if the shell becomes cracked.

The Four Steps were created by USDA, FDA, and CDC in collaboration with the Partnership for Food Safety Education. Check the information out here and find additional tools:



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