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Five Food Safety Myths

Lemon juice cleaning myths

Have you ever wondered about those food safety claims you heard on the news? We all do our best to keep ourselves and our families safe, but how can you tell if the information you are getting is the safest and most effective? Read below for some common myths and the truth.

Myth #1: Lemon juice and salt can sanitize your cutting board.

While lemon juice and salt do have some antimicrobial properties, it is not enough to safely remove the bacteria and prevent future growth. To safely clean your cutting boards, you need to wash the board with hot water and soap followed by a rinse in a diluted chlorine bleach solution. To make the solution combine 1 tablespoon of bleach with 1 gallon of water.

Myth #2: The five second rule -- if you drop food on the floor and pick it up within five seconds it is safe to eat.

This urban myth has been around for a while and, unfortunately, it’s not true. It is better to be safe and wash or discard the food if a food has hit the ground. People walk in dirty places, such as public restrooms and the sidewalk, and that comes off on the kitchen floor. It’s almost as if you are eating off those surfaces. Better to be safe than risk illness.

Myth #3: Antimicrobial soap is better than regular soap.

While antimicrobial soap sounds safer, research has shown that regular soap is just as effective as antimicrobial soap in washing off bacteria. In fact, long-term use of antimicrobial soaps may encourage bacteria to build up a resistance to antimicrobial agents.

Myth # 4: Rinsing off poultry will get rid of bacteria.

Actually, rinsing off poultry is a good way to spread bacteria. The water from a rinse can splash onto countertops and sinks, making it easy for bacteria to cross-contaminate foods, especially ready-to-eat foods. The best way to reduce contamination on poultry and any other meat or seafood is to cook food to the correct temperature.

Myth #5: Vinegar disinfects kitchen surfaces.

To be a true disinfectant, a solution must kill at least 99 percent of bacteria. A full concentration vinegar kills a little less than 90 percent. Many homemade vinegar solutions found online usually dilute the vinegar, making the solution less effective. When it comes to killing bacteria in your kitchen, it’s best to use a diluted bleach solution.

Bottom line: As always, wash your hands before and after preparing food. Follow the guidelines above to ensure that your food safety practices will keep you and your family safe!

Written by: Denee Bex, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern

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