Many food prepcities across the country dispatch health inspectors to monitor the food safety of restaurants and eateries open to the public. In addition to providing these records online, cities like Washington, DC require restaurants to post their most recent health inspection grades prominently in the windows of their establishment.  These grades serve notice to all, regarding the quality of that restaurants cleanliness.

So, what does this have to do with bodybuilding? A lot, actually.

Weekly, competitors across the country turn their kitchens into mini restaurants as they undertake the ritual known as food prep. Let’s face it; depending upon how much you eat, you just might be cooking as much food as a small restaurant. Unlike commercial restaurants, there are no health inspectors, but maybe there should be given that 20 percent of foodborne illness outbreaks result from foods that people cook and consume in their own homes. 

You heard me right; people and not public restaurants are responsible for 20 percent of all food-related illnesses. Such illnesses are usually caused by the improper handling, preparation and/or storage of foods like fruits, vegetables, and meats.

According to the CDC roughly 1 in 6 Americans or 48 million people will get sick from food, 128,000 will be hospitalized and 3,000 will die of foodborne diseases. In most cases “bad food” will result in one or more of the following conditions:

•   Upset stomach

•   Abdominal cramps

•   Nausea and vomiting

•   Diarrhea

•   Fever

•   Dehydration

Researchers in Michigan recently undertook a study to identify equipment within the home that harbored pathogens that cause foodborne illness. The researchers analyzed 14 common kitchen items for the presence of four different types of microorganisms: E. coli, Salmonella, yeast and mold, and Listeria.

Here are the six “germiest” items that were found:

·   Refrigerator vegetable compartment

·   Refrigerator meat compartment

·   Blender gasket

·   Can opener

·   Rubber spatula

·   Food storage container with rubber seal

Here are several tips to protect yourself—from yourself:

1.    Clean vegetable and meat compartments on a regular basis. Use a clean sponge or soft cloth to wash the bin with a mild detergent mixed with warm water.

2.    Completely disassemble and clean the blender after each use. Use a clean sponge or soft cloth to wash each component of the blender, including the rubber gasket. Blender components can also be cleaned in a dishwasher.

3.    Can openers should be cleaned with a mild detergent and warm water or placed in a dishwasher after each use.

4.    Dissemble rubber spatulas and clean—many have a detachable handle. Clean both parts with detergent and water or place in a dishwasher. 

5.    Rubber seals on food storage containers should be cleaned on a regular basis with detergent and water.

The germs that were found on the aforementioned kitchen items come in direct contact with raw foods, which necessitate the need for frequent cleaning. The reality is that food-related illness caused by foods prepared at home can be greatly reduced with a little soap and water.

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