Hidden Germs in the Kitchen

By Gretchen Bolander

Published 06/27 2014 06:09PM

Updated 06/27 2014 08:01PM

We'd all like to think that our kitchens are safe - a spot where we make a meal on our own terms. But it can be home to plenty of germs and bacteria which can lead to illness and even death.

Karen Watts is the Director of Lab Services at Freeman. She said, "The kitchen can harbor all kinds of bacteria like listeria, e. coli, salmonella, molds and fungi." And the number one culprit is in cold storage. Added Watts, "The germs in the meat and veggie drawers are usually e. coli, salmonella. There could be listeria. It could grow mold, they can grow fungi. How you can get rid of those is to wash the drawers of your refrigerator monthly and you can just use a mild detergent, soapy water."

You should also watch out for rubber spatulas with removable handles. Karen Watts described, "Sometimes you can trap moisture in there. And if there's any bacteria in that moisture, it tends to grow. If you take apart the spatula, you'll sometimes see some growth inside there if you haven't ever done that before. So what's recommended is if you have a spatula that comes apart that you do take that apart before you put that in your dishwasher." Even canned foods can cause problems. Said Watts, "A lot of times when you're opening the cans, you get a little bit of food on the, the, the wheel of the can opener, the cutting mechanism. And a good way to clean that off is just to use some soapy water and a toothbrush. You can use dental floss to take off that residue that might have splashed onto the can opener when you opened the cans."

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