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13 Unhealthy Kitchen Habits to Break

Updated on February 05, 2024

To keep your kitchen healthy, break these common habits.

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Breaking Bad Habits

We often think those small bad habits in the kitchen are no big deal. But it’s the little things that can lead to foodborne illness. In order to keep you and your family healthy, here are 13 less-than-squeaky-clean practices worth quitting.

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Defrosting Meat & Poultry on the Countertop

Harmful microorganisms multiply quickly at room temperature. Leaving meat and poultry to defrost on the countertop overnight allows millions — or even billions — of microorganisms to flourish. Even cooking cannot destroy all these bad boys.

The Solution: Defrost meat in the refrigerator overnight. For larger meats, like a whole chicken or turkey, you may need a little advanced planning and thaw time of 1-2 days.

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Forgetting to Wash Reusable Grocery Bags

A survey conducted by the Home Food Safety program found that 85 percent of Americans aren’t washing their reusable grocery bags. The problem: Raw foods, including meat, chicken and eggs, leave potentially harmful bacteria inside those totes. And those bacteria can be transferred to produce if the same bag is reused without being cleaned.

The Solution: Wash reusable bags frequently. Cloth bags can be tossed into the washing machine or cleaned by hand with soap and warm water. Wipe down plastic-coated bags with antibacterial spray or wipes.

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Rinsing Meat in the Sink

You may think you’re decreasing bacteria on meat or poultry by rinsing it before cooking. But that water splashes everywhere — including on dishes in the sink and on countertops — contaminating everything.

The Solution: According to USDA guidelines, it’s best never to rinse meat and poultry. Instead, cook them to the proper minimum temperature to ensure that any harmful bacteria are destroyed.

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