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Tackle Kitchen Spring Cleaning And Reduce Your Risk Of Food Poisoning With Tips From HomeFoodSafety.org

CHICAGO, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Spring is now upon us, welcoming flowers, warmer weather and of course spring cleaning. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics along with ConAgra Foods encourages Americans to give their kitchens a thorough cleaning with tips from the Home Food Safety program's www.HomeFoodSafety.org.

"Spring cleaning is a great opportunity to give the kitchen a good food safety check and cleaning, especially refrigerators and freezers where raw meat, poultry and seafood is stored," says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy Spokesperson Karen Ansel.

During National Nutrition Month, Ansel shares simple steps from www.HomeFoodSafety.org to help reduce cross contamination in the kitchen, and minimize the risk of food poisoning:

Kitchen Surfaces"Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around the kitchen, not just on hands alone," Ansel says. "Unless people wash their hands, utensils and surfaces the right way, they could unintentionally spread bacteria to their food and family."

  • Keep countertops clean by washing with hot soapy water before and after preparing food. Clean surfaces and utensils with a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
  • Keep kitchen surfaces such as appliances, countertops, cutting boards and utensils clean with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item. Keeping cutting boards and surfaces clean, and following proper sponge safety, helps prevent cross-contamination.

Refrigerator"Everything that comes in contact with food must be kept clean all year long to reduce cross-contamination, including the refrigerator," Ansel says. "Spring is the perfect time to clean up and set regular cleaning routines."

  • Check that the refrigerator temperature is set to below 40° F. Download the Refrigerator Safety Checklist and Refrigerator Cleaning Guide for additional information.
  • Keep the refrigerator clean at all times; this is a good time to look for unnoticed spills and remove lingering odors. Wipe up spills and clean surfaces with hot, soapy water and rinse them well.
  • To keep the refrigerator smelling fresh and help eliminate odors, place an opened box of baking soda on a shelf. Avoid using solvent cleaning agents, abrasives, and any cleansers that may impart a chemical taste to food or ice cubes, or cause damage to the interior finish of your refrigerator. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. 

Shelf life"Whether in the pantry or refrigerator, it's important to make sure food items haven't spoiled," Ansel says. "Remember – when in doubt, toss it out!"

  • This is a good time of year to use or throw away foods that are losing their quality or have spoiled, for both refrigerated items and non-refrigerated items in the pantry. For a detailed listing of the shelf-life of foods, as well as a kitchen safety quiz, download the free "Is My Food Safe?" app.
  • Make spring the time to begin new food safety habits. Once a week, make it a habit to throw out perishable foods that should no longer be eaten.

All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The Academy's Board of Directors and Commission on Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use "registered dietitian nutritionist" (RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.

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