Kitchen hygiene photo by SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

by Dan Fritschen

Everybody wants to make sure that when they are cooking, they are doing it to the highest standard – and not just in terms of presentation and culinary skill! Good food hygiene practices are essential to make sure cooking for yourself and others is done safely. This is especially important for families where young children will also be eating food. Children are more susceptible to germs and bacteria as their immune systems are less developed, meaning that we need to be extra careful when preparing and cooking food for them. Of course, we should be taking care to ensure that good kitchen hygiene is being practiced no matter who we’re cooking for! If you like spending time in the kitchen then you can observe a few hygienic principles to prepare your meals safely, and there are some design features you can incorporate into your kitchen remodel to improve hygiene.

Cross-contamination is the leading cause of most food poisoning incidences. The surfaces that are going to be used when preparing your meals should be cleaned thoroughly after every stage of preparing the meals; try to clean the surfaces as you go. Raw food products such as uncooked meat, eggs, fish and vegetables are a major cause of cross-contamination. Clean any surfaces they may have touched including chopping boards, and make sure you wash your hands at regular intervals.

Even the utensils and surfaces which raw food has been placed on should be cleaned thoroughly before they are used again. Where possible, i.e. if you can afford it, use paper towels. Paper towels are safer than dish towels as they will not harbor germs. Many of us may find it hard to keep dish towels clean making them a leading source of cross-contamination. If you have to use dish towels try to use them sparingly and consider changing them regularly.

For those of us who love keeping fresh ingredients in the house, good practice dictates that we must regularly check the date on all ingredients. Stay clear of any ingredients that have passed the use-by date. This is why a mix of fresh ingredients and tinned or frozen ingredients comes in handy so if there is anything you do not use that often you won’t have to end up throwing it away.

How you store the food in the fridge and freezer also affects hygiene; cooked food needs to be stored at the top of the refrigerator with raw food products such as meat being stored at the bottom in a covered container. Many older fridges may not be built for this kind of storage, so consider upgrading your appliances in a bid to improve kitchen hygiene.

Installing separate sinks is also a great way to make sure you keep preparation and cleaning areas clearly defined. When you’re planning a kitchen remodel, consider adding a second sink into the design.

Keep in mind that some materials may also be more hygienic than others – ceramic sinks may look nice and rustic but older ones may be chipped and cracked, which provides an ideal space for germs to breed!

To get an idea of the cost to remodel a kitchen, try our free, easy to use kitchen remodel cost calculator. And if you’re planning a kitchen remodel but aren’t sure how you want it to look, check out our Design Gallery – here you’ll be able to search, save and share millions of design photos!