Houston, We Have Contact: How to Clean Food Contact Surfaces
If there ever was a spotless way to cook and prep food, it would be something along the lines of ‘cooking in outer space.’ You wouldn’t have to worry about any cutting boards to clean or messy paper towels, and all your food would be floating across the cabin of your spacecraft. After all, you never hear astronauts say, “Houston, did you forget to pack the detergent and bleach?” If only we could cook and eat our food like astronauts in space.
Alas, our gravity-bound environment forces us to deal with the food contact surfaces that we use every single day. Bacteria and diseases are more prevalent than ever and proper sanitization and cleaning are vital to keeping a healthy lifestyle. Here are some down-to-Earth steps for keeping your kitchen countertops clean and sanitized.
The first step is to clean and give your surface a good scrub down. This is the hard work such as scraping and wiping down the food- contact surfaces. If any type of raw meat touched the surface in question, grab a pair of rubber gloves to prevent the spread of salmonella or other bacteria and scrub away.
Use a cleaner or a detergent on your surface that is safe and nontoxic. There are many different types of solutions that you can use (white vinegar and water works well), just make sure you rinse with hot water to remove the remaining dirt and grime.
Once you have finished the cleaning, sanitization is next and it is the most important part before your surface is ready for lift off. Sanitizing your surfaces reduces and kills the number of bacteria and germs that are still left over after a regular scrub down. Temperatures of at least 180°F are ideal when sanitizing with hot water. If you are using chemical sanitizers make sure it is at least 120°F. Always remember to allow your surfaces to air dry after cleaning. Using paper towels to dry the surfaces can risk the spread of bacteria that hasn’t been killed yet.
“Houston, we have lift off!”
Now that you have cleaned and sanitized your surfaces, you are ready to begin another round of safe prepping and cooking. While the countdown may go on until we can all cook and prep food like astronauts, our first priority is to maintain clean kitchen countertops in our homes and restaurants. Then we will be able to serve our food spick-and-span!