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Hygiene tips for Christmas cooking

What’s lurking in your kitchen this Christmas?

Christmas is coming, and for many of us that means spending more time than usual in the kitchen. Cooking for festive parties and family get-togethers, not to mention the full turkey dinner on December 25th, can take up a huge amount of energy. At busy times like these it can prove a challenge to keep a close eye on hygiene.

But taking short cuts when it comes to cleanliness in the kitchen is never a good idea. From food poisoning to the spread of cold and flu germs, there are plenty of bugs just waiting to sabotage your plans over the holiday season.

Here, we’ve highlighted four key danger areas where there’s a higher potential for cross-contamination.

1. Kitchen sink. Many people’s idea of cleaning the kitchen sink is a quick rinse with tap water, but this is not enough to kill the bacteria harboured in this area. Studies have shown that there can be more bacteria in the average kitchen sink than a toilet (toilets tend to be cleaned regularly with anti-bacterial products). Germs from unwashed vegetables, raw eggs and uncooked meat can all lurk in a kitchen sink and lead to nasty bouts of food poisoning if they cross-contaminate onto hands. Washing a raw turkey in the sink before cooking is definitely not advised – not only is it an ineffective way of killing germs on poultry, it could actually spread bugs by splashing them around the sink, taps and food-prep areas.

2. Cloths, scourers and sponges. Bacteria thrive in damp conditions, making dish rags and sponges a perfect breeding ground. Rinse cloths well after use and leave them to dry. Kill germs by placing them in a pan of boiling water for several minutes. If a dishcloth has started to smell, it’s definitely time to replace it.

3. Salt and pepper shakers. Harmless as these might seem, condiments are used by many family members during a meal yet many of us forget to clean them. A study by the University of Virginia found that salt and pepper shakers were one of the biggest germ hotspots in the home, along with the refrigerator door handle and the TV remote. Wipe them down daily with a quick spritz of an anti-bacterial cleaner such as NatraSan.

4. Chopping boards. To keep chopping boards free of bacteria, wash them with hot water and soap, and dry them with disposable kitchen roll. The damper they are, the quicker germs will multiply, which is why keeping them as dry as possible is a good idea. Plastic chopping boards can be cleaned effectively in the dishwasher, but this isn’t advisable for wood. Replace boards when they become knife-scarred or cracked, as deep dents are trickier to clean.

There’s no need to be obsessive about cleanliness, but by paying close attention to hygiene you will help ensure your loved ones stay healthy and happy over Christmas. NatraSan is an ideal anti-bacterial cleaner in the kitchen, because it is entirely safe to use around food. The active ingredient is hypochlorous, which is produced naturally in human and animal immune systems to fight infections and kill invading germs. To buy NatraSan, visit our online shop, or call 0800 707 6883 to place a telephone order.