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Sloan Barnett

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4 Ways To Keep Your Kitchen Greener And Healthier

Posted: 10/13/11 09:33 AM ET

I just plain love food.

To me, it's so much more than fuel that keeps us going. For one thing, it's so sensual: Choosing, cooking and eating appeals to all the senses -- taste, obviously, but also sight, smell, touch, even sound. It's also communal, the moment when family, and sometimes friends, gather and visit. We pause. We talk. We argue. We laugh.

So, let's talk about this important aspect of our lives. As you know, there are real health hazards to be found in the kitchen. But they can be prevented simply and naturally. You just have to know where to start and how to keep bacteria, microbes and toxic chemicals at bay.

We'll take a look at the top priorities -- from the food you buy, to preparation techniques, to the kitchen products you use.

Preventing Cross-Contamination
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Cross-contamination plays an important role in the transmission of food-borne illness. Research shows that dish-washing doesn't get the whole job done in preventing the spread of bacteria.

A good general rule is to use two cutting boards, one for raw meat and a different one for the rest of your food.

Other important ways to prevent the food-borne illnesses is to keep kitchen cloths and sponges clean, and to wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat (and its packaging).

Many cooking specialists recommend using bleach to sanitize countertops after food prep. I say skip it and use vinegar instead.

Vinegar is an effective natural disinfectant, and even kills both salmonella and E. coli, making it a valuable sanitizer in the kitchen.
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