​Les Kincaid's




Ten Steps to a Much Safer Kitchen

1. Your refrigerator
A temperature of 40°F or less is important because it slows the growth of most bacteria. The fewer bacteria there are, the less likely you are to get sick from them.

2. Perishable foods
A temperature of 40°F or less is important because it slows the growth of most bacteria. The fewer bacteria there are, the less likely you are to get sick from them.
* Date leftovers so they can be used within two to three days.
* If in doubt, throw it out!

What's the most unsanitary spot in your house? 
Hint: Not necessarily the toilet

3. Kitchen dishcloths and sponges
Wash with a solution of one-teaspoon chlorine bleach to one-quart water, or use a commercial sanitizing agent, following product directions.

Sanitize your kitchen dishcloths and sponges regularly. Many cooks use dishcloths or sponges to mop up areas where they have worked with uncooked meat and then reuse the cloth or sponge in other kitchen areas after minimal rinsing.

A contaminated dishcloth can house millions of bacteria after a few hours. Consider using paper towels to clean up and then throw them away immediately. Wash hands carefully after handling raw meat.

"We found that the most germ-laden object in your home is actually your sponge or your dishrag,"
What's in that sponge or rag? Five major causes of foodborne illness, like salmonella, E.coli, campylobacter, clostridium perfringens, and staphylococcus.

4. Cutting boards
Wash your cutting board with soap and hot water after each use.

* Never allow raw meat, poultry, and fish to come in contact with other foods. Washing with only a damp cloth will not remove bacteria.

* Periodically washing in a bleach solution is the best way to prevent bacteria from remaining on your cutting board.

5. Cooking meats
Cook ground beef, red meats and poultry products until they are no longer red in the middle. Make sure the juices run clear.

A. Cooking food, including ground meat patties, to an internal temperature of at least 160 ° F usually protects against foodborne illness. Well-done meats reach that temperature.

B. Ground beef can be contaminated with potentially dangerous E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria.

C. The US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) advised consumers on June 10, 1997 to use a meat thermometer when cooking hamburger and not rely on the internal color of the meat to be sure it is safe to eat. This change resulted from research that indicates some ground meat may turn prematurely brown before a safe internal temperature of 160° F is reached.

6. Mixes containing egg
Many older cookbooks have recipes for ice cream, mayonnaise, eggnog and some desserts that call for raw eggs. These recipes are no longer recommended because of the risk of Salmonella. The commercial versions of these products are made with pasteurized eggs (eggs that have been sufficiently heated to kill bacteria) and are not a food hazard.

7. Kitchen counters
Clean kitchen counters and other surfaces that come in contact with food with hot water and detergent or a solution of bleach and water.

A. Bleach and commercial cleaning agents are best for getting rid of pathogens. Hot water and detergent do a good job, too, but may not kill all strains of bacteria.

B. Keep sponges and dishcloths clean because, when wet, these materials harbor bacteria and may encourage their growth.

8. Washing dishes by hand
Allow dishes and utensils to air-dry in order to eliminate re-contamination from hands or towels.
When washing dishes by hand, it’s best to wash them all within two hours--before bacteria can begin to form.

9. Washing hands
Wash hands with soap and warm water immediately after handling raw meat, poultry, or fish.
Wash for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, especially raw meat. If you have an infection or cut on your hands, wear rubber or plastic gloves.

10. Defrosting meats
Defrost meat, poultry and fish products in the refrigerator, microwave oven, or cold water that is changed every 30 minutes.

A. Follow package directions for thawing foods in the microwave.

B. Cook microwave-defrosted food immediately after thawing.

C. Changing water every 30 minutes when thawing foods in cold water ensures that the food is kept cold, an important factor for slowing bacterial growth on the outside while inner areas are still thawing.

Children are not small adults.
Seniors may have special needs too.

Fire & Hot Oil   

Safety in the Kitchen

Here is some very important knowledge that can keep you from being hurt when you work with fire and other hot things around the kitchen.

"The Fat is on the Fire..."

This is an old and well-known saying that reminds folks that when important things are happening, you should pay careful attention. This is most literally true around kitchens.

Most kitchen fires, and lots of the restaurants that burn down, occur because someone started heating fat or oil and forgot about it. The oil gets hotter and hotter, smokes a bit, and then bursts into flame, and it makes great fuel! A cardinal rule in the kitchen: when "The Fat is on the Fire," PAY ATTENTION!

Deep Fat Fryers:

In addition to being fire hazards from the oil, deep fat fryers have other dangerous traits.

One thing to pay particular attention to - never place a glass of water, a drink, or any other liquid that is not cooking oil, where it can spill onto the fryer. If it does, it turns into steam instantly and can violently spray hot oil in all directions.

Watch the electrical cord carefully and don't leave it where something might snag it, dumping the load of hot oil about. I once had a friend who left the deep fat fryer cord across a doorway when kids playing in the house and one of them ran through the door and tripped over it.

Also, be careful even when you add food to a deep fat fryer. If the fat is too hot or if there are pockets of liquid in the prepared food, the liquid fat can spray about.

Here are some other burn safety tips to remember:

1. Always remember that the steam will rise out of a boiling pot of water when you take off the cover. Remove the cover, far side first, so that this steam doesn't scald your hand.

2. If you take a hot pan or a cover from the fire and put it on a counter, leave a hot pad on the hot lid or utensil as a warning to the others in the kitchen that it is hot. (And tell them this is the way this message is conveyed.) In many kitchens a dusting of flour on the utensil is the warning that it is fresh off the fire and hot.

3. Always have at least a couple of fire extinguishers available and learn how to use them. Get some professional training in this - the people that service your extinguishers can probably arrange a bit of training and you should get as much as possible. A person that knows what they are doing can stop a fire in its tracks with an extinguisher. Conversely, someone who doesn't know what they are doing around a kitchen fire can easily get themselves killed.

4. Don't let the panhandles on the stove stick out over the floor. Not only can curious kids get to them, but they can also snag on clothing, for example, and spill. Turn them to the side, but don't let them extend over adjacent burners either.

Public Safety Perceptions

Although consumers place restaurants among the most responsible links in the chain of food safety, less than half of them think foodservice is doing a good job protecting its customers from foodborne illness.

The findings of a local survey revealed that food safety seems to be lacking among restaurants other than those located in hotel/casinos.

The survey results show:
Food safety is more important than ever and Las Vegas certainly is no exception. A total of 52% of those surveyed said the safety issue has become more important than it was a year ago, and more people today are worried about food safety than about fat or sodium.

Only about 7% of respondents consider restaurant employees very knowledgeable in safe food handling; 61% think they are somewhat knowledgeable; and 32% think they are not knowledgeable.

The public at large doesn't know that all food service employees must obtain a health card at Clark County Health Department prior to working in a food establishment.

Perhaps most significant among the survey results is the public's perception of the restaurant industry's performance on food safety everywhere.

When asked to cite groups they consider responsible for food safety, 96% of people surveyed held restaurants most accountable, along with food processors/manufacturers and meat packers.

Only 46% surveyed, however, think restaurants are doing a good job of ensuring a safe food supply, falling behind food producers, farmers, supermarkets, processors and even consumers themselves.

And that number is slipping. In 1997, 50% of consumers surveyed thought restaurants were handling food safety OK.

The figures demonstrate the need for the foodservice industry to focus on boosting customer confidence in its food-safety efforts, and employee training is one of the most effective ways to do it. Las Vegas restaurateurs should be forced to create an in-house program.

In another recent survey, 97% of consumers said knowing that restaurant employees receive training in food safety is most important in making them confident in the food industry's ability to serve safe food.  Although it is known that many of the chronic violators repeat almost twice as fast as those with few violations. Fines or the threat of closing down the establishment might be part of the answer, although if an owner or manager has no real interest in food safety, nothing is going to change.

The national food-safety council wants every foodservice establishment to have one manager certified in food safety that can train other workers and establish proper handling procedures. Clark County Nevada should adopt this concept and enforce it. The national food-safety council also recently endorsed a position urging every manager in the industry to become certified. We need to do everything we can to ensure our customers are served safe food. It's what they expect and it's what we owe them. Call your local health department and see what they are doing to insure that the foods you might be served or sold are safe.