So, here's the deal: Safe preparation of meat, poultry and even eggs is about fighting bacteria, especially salmonella, that nasty germ that can make you or your family members very, very ill, or worse. Every year, roughly 40,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the U.S., and that doesn't count cases that weren't diagnosed or reported. So, the number may be 30 or more times greater, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Follow these tips for meat and poultry handling:
- If you're a die-hard user of wood cutting boards (instead of plastic cutting boards), and use them for chopping meat, know that the grooves in wood cutting boards are havens for bacteria, so you'll have to take extra precautions to keep them sanitary. After every use, wash the wood cutting board with hot water and dish soap and then treat the entire surface with a bleach and water solution. Leave the solution on the board for at least 10 minutes, then thoroughly dry the board with a paper towel. Don't soak a wood cutting board in water or any other liquid, since this will cause the board to warp.
- Don't place raw meat on your kitchen counter (it will contaminate the surface) and never put cooked meat back on any dish, cutting board or surface where it sat when it was raw.