Dirty Kitchen Habits That Cause Food Poisoning

by Yuen Yi Ying
HEALTH  |  June 26, 2019
  • Find out if you are guilty of these kitchen mistakes that may make you sick.
    1 / 7 Find out if you are guilty of these kitchen mistakes that may make you sick.

    You may think you have an iron stomach, but just one bout of food poisoning will be enough to take you out for days with symptoms like severe diarrhoea and vomiting, and it can happen quickly and without warning too. Avoid this situation by taking precautions and ditching these dirty habits in the kitchen.

    (Also read: TRUE STORY: “I Suddenly Became Lactose Intolerant After a Bad Bout of Food Poisoning.”)

    Photos: Pixabay

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  • Washing raw meat
    2 / 7 Washing raw meat

    It may seem like a dirty habit not to wash meat, but washing meat is actually what may cause you to have food poisoning. Experts explain that the contaminated water from washing meat can splash on work surfaces, your clothes, nearby dishes, as well as all around the sink, spreading bacteria that may make your stomach churn.

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  • Leaving food out
    3 / 7 Leaving food out

    If you leave food on the stove overnight, you’re taking a gamble and attracting unwanted insects. All leftovers and cooked food should be chilled within two hours or tossed, as bacteria grows rapidly between 4 to 60 deg C. The same precautions should be taken if you’re bringing food across town for a picnic — be sure to use a cooler bag.

    (Also read: Store Food in the Fridge Properly to Prevent Food Poisoning)

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  • Using old, dirty sponges
    4 / 7 Using old, dirty sponges

    Sponges are prime bacteria breeding ground, and using a shabby, old one means you could be spreading bacteria to the dishes you’re cleaning, your hands, and other surfaces you wipe with the sponge. Throw out sponges every one to two weeks, or better yet, buy a silicone sponge. They clean and scrub well, plus they’re non-porous and thus less likely to harbour bacteria and odours.

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  • Drying dishes with a dish rag
    5 / 7 Drying dishes with a dish rag

    Drying dishes with a damp dish rag that is also used to wipe hands and other surfaces can be dangerous. In this study, a whopping 89 per cent of dishcloths contained fecal coliforms, and E. coli bacteria, which can cause cramping and bloody stools, was found in more than a quarter of the dish rags. Further, if the towels also had salmonella bacteria, it was found that the bacteria could survive even washing and drying! Perhaps it’s best to just let crockery air dry instead.

    (Also read: 6 Best Fermented Foods to Eat if You Want a Stronger Gut)

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  • Mixing raw and cooked foods
    6 / 7 Mixing raw and cooked foods

    Don’t let raw meat and seafood hang out with cooked foods, or ingredients you are going to eat without cooking. As you can imagine, by doing so, you may accidentally cause cross-contamination, transferring bacteria from the meat and seafood to foods you are going to eat without heating to kill the bacteria. That’s a recipe for disaster!

    (Also read: Heaty Foods to Avoid in Singapore’s Hot Weather)

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  • Using the wrong cutting board
    7 / 7 Using the wrong cutting board

    Is a plastic board more hygienic than a wooden one? Apparently not. Even though wood is porous, scientists explain that knife marks on plastic breeds and holds onto bacteria, whereas knife marks on wood blocks are not as deep, and wood draws bacteria inside where they dry out and die.

    (Also read: Is There Really A Need to Refrigerate Eggs?)

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