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Kitchen Safety Tips to Give You a Green Light in the Kitchen!

Much of cooking is common sense. The oven is hot. Ice is cold. You can get sick from eating raw meat. Most people know most things. But everyone can benefit from a refresher. Let’s take a ride and discuss some kitchen safety tips to give you a “green light” in the kitchen.

We are all familiar with traffic signals. Red means stop. Yellow means slow down. Green means go.

There are a lot of red light, yellow light, and green light moments in the kitchen.

Green lights mean smooth sailing. Everything is good, and you are having a great time.  Things smell great. Things look great. Everything is wonderful.

Yellow lights mean slow down. These are times when you need to pause and assess the situation. Activities start to get risky and you have to take a moment to make the right decision or potentially sicken yourself or your family with an unfortunate mistake.

Red lights mean stop. These are big no-no’s. Red light situations require immediate action or there is certain to be trouble.

Green Light Kitchen Safety Tips

image by Hans via Pixabay

Cooking can be a fun activity. Within certain parameters, even young children can join in on the labor of love that goes into preparing the food that will nurture their bodies and soothe the soul. Keep the light green with the following kitchen safety tips.

Wash Your Hands

Everyone participating in the cooking activities should practice good hand hygiene. Frequent hand washing is important to keep food safe and prevent cross-contamination.

Hands should be washed:

  • Before cooking begins
  • When changing tasks
  • After handling raw foods
  • Anytime they become dirty or contaminated.

Wash your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds and dry them with a clean towel.

Stove Safety

The stove/oven is the heart of the kitchen. While other appliances hold their own, the stove often gets the most action. Quite a few kitchen safety tips involve the use of this appliance, regardless of whether it is electric or gas.

  • Don’t leave the kitchen while the stove is in use. Stay nearby to ensure that you are ready to act if needed. Spilled grease on the oven floor could start a fire. Disaster may be avoided if it is caught quickly.
  • Use back burners whenever possible and keep pot handles facing the wall. Accidents are less likely to happen when pots are out of reach. Bumping the pot or young hands reaching for handles can cause serious injury with potentially lasting effects.
  • Roll up long sleeves when cooking. Loose-fitted clothing is a fire hazard. It might be hot in the kitchen, but you don’t want to be the one on fire.
  • Regularly clean the oven, stove, and burners to prevent grease buildup. Grease is flammable. Keeping things clean helps prevent fires.

Microwave Safety

Kitchen cooking tips often overlook one of the most widely used appliances in the kitchen. While the stove is the star, the microwave is key supporting cast. Keep the kitchen light green by following these microwave kitchen safety tips.

  • Only use microwave safe containers to heat things in the microwave. If it isn’t specifically labeled “microwave safe” it may melt, cause a fire, or leach harmful chemicals into your food. Never heat Styrofoam in the microwave.
  • Never put metal in the microwave. Metal conduct electricity because it contains lots of electrons. When the microwaves (the energy, not the appliance) hit metal objects, they reflect. Metal objects in the microwave can cause the appliance to malfunction, create sparks, or even start a fire. Be sure that plates and bowls aren’t trimmed with metal and never put a spoon, fork, or knife in the microwave.

Yellow Light Kitchen Safety Tips

image by Hans via Pixabay

Yellow light activities require a moment’s pause to ensure you are cooking safely in the kitchen. These higher risk tasks are routine, but could tip into red light territory if not handled properly. Slow down and stay safe with these yellow light kitchen safety tips.

Don’t Disable the Smoke Alarm

It might be annoying that the blackened chicken dish or other culinary masterpiece you are cooking has set off the smoke alarm. You know there is no fire, but that little device doesn’t. And so, it wails.

  • Open a door or window.
  • Turn on the exhaust fan.
  • DO NOT remove the batteries or disable it.

 

You want the smoke alarm to let you know when there is a real fire or dangerous situation. Don’t trust your memory to replace those batteries.

Don’t Use the Same Kitchen Towel for Everything

They may look clean enough. Perhaps a little damp. But do not use the same kitchen towel for everything. Using the same kitchen towel for cleaning the counter or cutting board and then drying your hands can spread bacteria around the kitchen.

  • Use a separate clean towel to dry your hands.
  • Get a new towel after cleaning something up, such as spills or wiping cutting boards.
  • Replace towels regularly so bacteria do not breed in the towel.

Be Mindful of Raw Meats

Liquid from raw meat is potentially full of bacteria. Be mindful that this liquid does not spill onto other foods, especially those you do not need to cook.

  • When possible, prepare raw meats first, then wash any cooking utensils or cutting boards. This creates a cleaner space for when you are preparing veggies or other foods.
  • Sanitize food prep areas before preparing vegetables. Clean the countertop and start with a clean cutting board.
  • If possible, use a designated cutting board for meat and another for vegetables. This reduces the risk of cross contamination.

Red Light Kitchen Safety Tips

image by Hans via Pixabay

Red light situations require immediate action. Cooking activities stop and immediate response is required. These are unsafe conditions where people can become seriously hurt or sick. Stop and think with these red light kitchen safety tips.

Fire Safety Tips

Fires are a serious risk in the kitchen. While most fires start when cooking food is left unattended, a fire can happen any time heat is used.

  • Never throw water on a grease fire. If a pan is on fire, turn off heat immediately if you can safely reach it. Carefully slide a lid on top if possible. If the fire is small, use baking soda. Flour is flammable and water can spread the fire. If the fire is not small, use a fire extinguisher.
  • If a fire starts in a microwave, oven, or toaster oven. Turn off the appliance. Have the appliance serviced before using it again.
  • Do not try to fight large fires on your own. Evacuate the house immediately and call 9-1-1.

Scalding Water

Burns due to boiling liquids or steam are called scalds. Some scalds can be treated at home, while more serious injuries require medical attention. If you are scalded by boiling liquid or steam, immediate action is needed.

  • Run cool or lukewarm water over the burn for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Do NOT use ice water, ice, or greasy substances (i.e. butter or lard).
  • Use care not to rub burned area.

Knife Injuries

Knife injuries are a serious risk in the kitchen. Using sharp knives, while it may sound contradictory, is safer than using a dull one. Dull knives require more pressure to cut through firm items, making it more likely to slip from your grip and cause injury.

  • Always use the appropriate cutting technique for the type of knife you are using and food you are working with.
  • Store knives in a wooden block or in a dedicated drawer. This prevents them from being grabbed improperly or falling. NEVER attempt to catch a falling knife. Step back quickly and allow it to fall to the floor.
  • If you are cut with a knife, place a towel or gauze bandage over the wound and apply pressure until the bleeding stops. Apply antibiotic ointment and a clean bandage if the injury isn’t serious. If you have significant bleeding, feel dizzy, or the cut is deep, seek medical attention right away.

Food Safety in the Kitchen Is as Easy and Observing the Traffic Lights

Remember, food safety in the kitchen is as easy as observing the traffic lights. Keep things safe with green, slow down and respond when yellow, and immediately stop when red. Keep these kitchen safety tips in mind as you prepare every snack and meal in your kitchen.

Want to Know More About Food Safety?

If you’d like to know more about food safety in the news, like Kitchen Safety Tips, check out the Make Food Safe Blog. We regularly update trending topics, foodborne infections in the news, recalls, and more! Stay tuned for quality information to help keep your family safe, while The Lange Law Firm, PLLC strives to Make Food Safe!

 

Heather Van Tassell

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