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Disinfecting the Kitchen: [How] Do You Do This?


merrybaker
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Anything worth doing is worth overdoing...  :smile:

 

I like to keep the counters free of crumbs and the sink free of dishes. And I mean no dishes, pans, cutlery or glasses left in the sink- ever. 

 

Occasionally I'll quickly do a terminal wipe-down- which means top down to bottom and is meant to remediate the entire area and prepare for new use at the end of a long day or week or the room's exposure to MDRO's. That's something I learned working in operating rooms for far too many years.

 

Also think people get carried away with this image of ultra cleanliness in general. Kitchen-wise main thing is dirty dishes and cookware in the sink or on the counters and a neat and orderly prep area.

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So now we're being dismissive of food safety? The words sublime and ridiculous come to mind.  If you don't bathe your kitchen in UV light or use one of the many anti-bacterial products to wipe down surfaces, you are going to poison people? Really?

 

We just seem to take all this a smidgen too far. Brings to mind what Jacques Pepin said to Julia Child about washing chickens: “if bacteria could survive that oven, it deserves to kill me.”

 

What's next? Autoclaving cooking implements?

 

Actually it is very practical to have a UV light for sanitizing.

 

There is nothing exotic about UV light use. It is a component in aquarium water circulators. It is a component in many home central air conditioning duct work.

 

I use it because I don't want anti-bacterial wash chemicals in my kitchen environment. Furthermore, the use of those washes is time consuming and expensive, and they only work when there is 100 % contact. 

 

I am lazy. A UV light only needs to be turned on and off, and move around a couple of time to avoid shadowed area. No work involved. Great for my big wood cutting board. How do you clean your heavy wood cutting board? Peroxide leaves no smell, but it is not 100% kill with microbes.

 

I use it in my beef dry-age chamber. I use it to clean the area and tools for long low temperature sous vide cooking.

 

The 55 watt UV setup costed me $30.00. 

 

Extreme? Going too far?

 

dcarch

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My niece's niece, who is 2, contracted e-coli and very nearly died.  She was 2 weeks in the hospital and will probably have damaged kidneys for life.  Now, her neighbor, who is 1, is in the hospital with the same infection -- they thought he wasn't going to make it because his kidneys were shutting down but they were not able to get the dialysis shunt inserted.  Fortunately, the 3rd surgical try yesterday was a success, so it looks like little Bennett has a chance but he, too, will very likely have damaged kidneys for life.

 

I am very much against using antibacterials and over using antibiotics.  I am very much for washing, cleaning and using good sanitation in food and water handling. 

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I am very much against using antibacterials and over using antibiotics.  I am very much for washing, cleaning and using good sanitation in food and water handling. 

 

Disinfectants are different from antibacterials and antibiotics. Without going all sciencey, the disinfectants (eg chlorox, lysol) are generally toxic to living things and kill quickly. They don't engender resistance. Their 'bad side' is that some are not short-lived eg the phenol in lysol and can hang around in the environment often bound to other molecules.

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I never  used peroxide, dont even know if I can buy it here in normal store,  bleach is only in the bathroom and in rare occasions,   I have cleaned my whole life with  pine oil soap, it standard here it kills most of the  bad bugs and keeps the good  guys around and I will not  change that.  It is none toxic and good for the  environment.

 

Trust me when I tell you sterilized food taste horrible, trust me bacteria free food has no good mouth feel or taste.

Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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In 1800 AD we reached 1 billion population on Earth, why do you think it took 600,000 years to reach that number? We had no birth control or chemicals or pesticides or GMOs.

 

It was because we died often from bacteria and viruses and infections ...and only 1 or 2 children from a large family survived to adulthood (like Laura Ingalls Wilder had 7 children but only one survived)

 

Cleanliness is a great thing, I use kitchen spray on my counters after cooking. I spray my sink with bleach spray and I steam my floors.

Im deathly afraid of getting a stomach bug.

Edited by GlorifiedRice (log)
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Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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Dcarch, I want to learn more about your $30 UV sterilizer. I want to make one. Thanks

There are many UV bulbs of different wattages on ebay. All you need is a fluorescent fixture which has a ballast that is the same wattage and sockets which will fit the bulb. 

 

I bought my 55 watt germicidal bulb on ebay like this one:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-55W-55-watt-UV-Germicidal-Bulb-Germicidal-UVC-2G11-/290533507006?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43a5257fbe

 

I had an aquarium fixture which works with that bulb. It is a good idea to have an extension cord with a switch so that you can turn the UV light on/off from another room. It is not a good idea to look into the light.

 

Here is a picture of my UV light in my dry age setup.

 

 

DRY%20AGE_zpsvoiyfdbj.jpg

 

dcarch

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I never  used peroxide, dont even know if I can buy it here in normal store,  bleach is only in the bathroom and in rare occasions,   I have cleaned my whole life with  pine oil soap, it standard here it kills most of the  bad bugs and keeps the good  guys around and I will not  change that.  It is none toxic and good for the  environment.

 

Trust me when I tell you sterilized food taste horrible, trust me bacteria free food has no good mouth feel or taste.

 

CatPoet, can you elaborate?  The older I get the more I try to pasteurize, if not sterilize, the food I eat.  Properly pasteurized food tastes perfectly fine to me.  That being said, I think this discussion is more about sterilizing food surfaces (that is counter tops, pots, utensils, and cutting boards -- surfaces that come in contact with food) as opposed to sterilizing the food itself.

 

What example could you give of sterilized food that tastes horrible?

 

 

Edit:  I'd offer freshly baked bread as an example of sterilized food.  Mine usually tastes pretty good, if I don't mind saying so myself.

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)
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When you end up in hospital for certain diseases you get what is called  Sterilized  germ free food, it  taste  bland has a  texture  of being cooked too long, but apparently nothing can grow in it. That is what they tell you.  It also has this weird taste of chemicals.

Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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When you end up in hospital for certain diseases you get what is called  Sterilized  germ free food, it  taste  bland has a  texture  of being cooked too long, but apparently nothing can grow in it. That is what they tell you.  It also has this weird taste of chemicals.

 

Sounds like bad cooking is the problem rather than  than sterilization

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My favorite sanitizers are ones based on quaternary ammonium compounds. I never use chlorine bleach, because it damages everything (side towels, stainless steel, wood, my clothes) and is surprisingly ineffective on porous surfaces or anywhere there are traces of organic matter (food). Acids like vinegar don't kill viruses, and are of limited effectiveness in general. 

 

Quaternary compounds are odorless, don't attack skin or metal or textiles, and don't have to be rinsed off. Spray or dip and let dry.

 

As with any sanitizer, they can only be trusted if the surface you're sanitizing was already clean. You can't sanitize something covered with chicken fat.

 

I mostly use this stuff on cutting boards. When I host big dinners, I also use it as a final rinse for dishes.

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Notes from the underbelly

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When you end up in hospital for certain diseases you get what is called  Sterilized  germ free food, it  taste  bland has a  texture  of being cooked too long, but apparently nothing can grow in it. That is what they tell you.  It also has this weird taste of chemicals.

 

All canned food is sterilized. It takes a lot of heat, which will definitely have an effect on flavors. But as gfweb suggests, the problems you noticed are just as likely due to it being hospital food.

 

FWIW, sterilization is extreme. It means killing everything, including bacterial spores (which are practically indestructible). Everyone else has been talking about sanitizing, which just means reducing pathogens to a very low level. Lots of traditional cooking techniques accomplish this already.

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Notes from the underbelly

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Let's cut the obsession with cleaning surfaces with antibacterials and instead think about hazard control. Most cases of food poisoning occur not because there are benches with germs on them (news to those who haven't done microbiology, this is most if not all of them) but rather because the food is not cooked properly or is kept too long in the danger zone or heated, improperly cooled, reheated, etc. Clean benches aren't going to help you if you have bacteria ridden egg yolks and make a raw egg yolk mayonnaise which you then keep at 50C for six hours.

 

What do I clean my wooden chopping board with? Not much of note except a wash cloth and water because most of my chopping is done with colour coded boards and my raw meat plastic chopping boards go through the dishwasher (although I do treat wash cloth with an iodine-based sterilising wash regularly to make sure that the worst of the bacteria are removed).

 

I cook for large numbers of people regularly and have yet to have a case of food poisoning. This is because of appropriate hazard control, not because of sterilising preparation surfaces. I'd suggest that if you are not aware of how to stop bacteria from multiplying (through pasteurisation or the like) or how to cook and chill without holding food too long in a danger zone of multiplying bacteria, you are much more likely that me to have issues, even if you spray clean your benches regularly with anti bacterials.

Edited by nickrey (log)
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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I cook for large numbers of people regularly and have yet to have a case of food poisoning. This is because of appropriate hazard control, not because of sterilising preparation surfaces. I'd suggest that if you are not aware of how to stop bacteria from multiplying (through pasteurisation or the like) or how to cook and chill without holding food too long in a danger zone of multiplying bacteria, you are much more likely that me to have issues, even if you spray clean your benches regularly with anti bacterials.

 

Yeah but you must understand that as a member of eGullet, it is reasonable to assume that you know much more about food and cooking than the average non eGulleter and that knowledge is probably why your food is "clean". Right?

Sorry to pick on men here BUT I know many single men who have horrendous kitchen habits and are always complaining about having stomach aches etc.

One can only read the comments sections on Recipe Sites and see the stupidity of some novice cooks about cleanliness and food safety. Every year they have to remind people to cook turkey to the proper temp and not reuse marinades etc...

 

Plenty of stupid unclean people

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Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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I am pretty obsessed with kitchen hygiene and use mostly vinegar and baking soda with the odd bit of bleach ..I am a nurse and have worked ER trying to start an iv on someone hurling form bad food ..is not fun and really horrible can get in the lungs and kill folks ..yes it can .. but at the same time .. I NEVER assume it is food unless proven it is food… so I wait for labs myself … because more often than not? i have in my career seen it be viral  it is not food in my experience it is viral still hand washing and hygiene are in issue and it comes in HUGE waves of folks thinking they were poisoned by the food and really someone did not wash hands after going to the bathroom .ew spreading a virus ..and yes bacteria but lots and lots of virus's are mistaken for food poison and visa versa … I have seen a LOT on TV about increasing food poisonings and honestly whatever ..with hygiene in the kitchen .. the struggle is real.

 

.but it is also very easy at this point for most of us to keep our kitchens clean and healthy and not have to worry about it …

I follow the health dept food handlers guidelines   the health department standards work well in my kitchen and bathroom … I do go back and check their site…they have good info online. 

 

Then …suddenly  I will freak the hell out about something …see germs where there are none..start worrying about my ratios of vinegar to water or bleach to water ..or mice bringing bacteria in to my chickens and the fresh eggs on the counter and and and ….my brain explodes and out come the swabs..I send samples to my friend ! ….(yes I am nuts ..I have a touch of OCD/wack-a-mole type …always helpful to a nurse…and glad folks who love me embrace it) …but he constantly threatens to cut me off and I am sure he will when if I stop sending him food and fresh eggs

 

 Each and every time I have swabbed my kitchen for deadly bacteria? …t has come back fine and I think as long as I only do this once every year or so he will humor me?  

 

hope this helps in some way ..I was looking at the UV and no more projects!..but that is very cool! 

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
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why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I, too, almost died from e-coli, contracted from a too rare hamburger in Mexico (on vacation, but it didn't stop me from buying a house and moving there).  

 

My husband contracted shigella (3rd world dysentery) at a high-end cafe in Fairfax VA (one of the richest counties in the US).   The Health Dept. found the shigella in the salad greens.  

 

Did I stop eating hamburgers in MX, no (though I learned to eat them cooked tres-quatro); did we stop eating salads at restaurants, no.  Did we stop eating greens, no.

 

Do I bleach or UV my kitchen surfaces, no.  

 

I do run utensils and cutting boards (plastic) through the dishwasher which we run on high heat.  If I work with raw meat/poultry/fish, I throw my kitchen towel in the washer immediately afterward.  If I was a bit sloppy working with raw protein, I'll spray some all-purpose cleaner on the counter near the cutting board.  

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I still think our approach to hygiene is influenced too much by the advertisements on our television.

 

A quick spray and all is right? Not likely.

 

A reply above to my post pointed out the problems with males cooking.

 

Perhaps they just spray and think this will fix everything.

 

If we want to help people to be safe, let's focus on the things that matter in terms of HACCP, not trivialities.

 

It may seem like I'm against food safety. Quite the opposite. I obsess about it, but in areas that count. Sterilising bench tops falls way down my priority list when I need to worry about cooking and food storage techniques that can multiply the few bacteria on my benchtop into a full blow gastric emergency.

 

Let's get the discussion focussed on things that make a real difference.

Edited by nickrey (log)
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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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------------------------ Let's get the discussion focussed on things that make a real difference.

 

For me, a ton of clean towels. 

 

Home depot cotton shop towels. I have 50 in white, and 50 in red. They are cheap. 12" x 12", very absorbent. white for clean, and red for not so clean.

 

When I think the towels need just a little cleaning, I add a little water and microwave them a few seconds. When they get very used, they go in the washer.

 

dcarch

 

Not how I clean a chicken.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhUZ-5a_wyo

Edited by dcarch (log)
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I have a knackered immune system following a bone marrow transplant. However, my kitchen is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. I take no special measures, I use normal products and don't fuss about obsessive hygeine. In the ten years since my transplant, I have not had a single food related infection from home.

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As above, I'd suggest that poor cooking techniques, cooling techniques, refrigeration, production, and holding techniques are responsible for more food poisoning than any "cleanliness" issues in the kitchen.

 

If good HACCP processes made money, we'd likely see the advertising agencies pushing them. Unfortunately the things that make money are peripheral to safety but high profit.

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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Well, look, a few years ago I posted 2 posts about this subject. One was about Rachael Ray telling people to "fill your sink up with water and wash all your veggies when you get home from the store"

and the other one was about my ex mother in law putting the head of cabbage directly into the sink to separate the leaves for cabbage rolls...

I have a huge issue with both because all the gross stuff goes in the sink and could cross contaminate the food. For instance I made a huge fillet of salmon yesterday and I left the baking dish in the sink overnight to soak, and I just put the dish in the dishwasher this am but IF I filled my sink with water and washed veggies that salmon gunk would be on them, no matter how well you rinse a sink theres always those crevices around that drain...

 

Likewise how many people have that gross kitchen washcloth hanging from the faucet or equally gross sponge and they wipe the cutting board off with it after cutting chicken and then put the cooked chicken back on that board to cut it further.

 

That all being said, people still live and thrive near Chernobl and farm and eat...SO *shrug*

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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It is not the sink, the chicken, the sponge -----------------------.

 

In many homes, it has been found the refrigerators are above 40F.

 

Really, check to make sure that your refrigerator is just above freezing.

 

dcarch

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