Most food-borne illnesses ‘happen in the home kitchen’

By Sharon Harvey Rosenberg

McClatchy Newspapers

To make your kitchen function better, handle food and cleaning products with more care. That’s the word from Chris Wagner, director of operations at Johnson & Wales University in Miami.

"Most food-borne illnesses actually happen in the home kitchen and not in the professional kitchen," Wagner said.

Even with the best intentions, many consumers waste time and money by failing to follow directions. Most of us quickly wipe down our countertops with liquids and sprays. But most cleaning and sanitizing products need time to operate. Soaking time ranges from 10 seconds to 5 minutes. Read the package for detailed instructions.


Wagner says you don’t need to buy expensive cleaners. Many commercial kitchens rely on vinegar and salt solutions for heavy-duty cleanups. He recommends a two-step cleanup process for wooden butcher blocks or cutting boards. At Johnson & Wales, wooden cutting boards are soaked in vinegar for five minutes before washing. After using, the students coat the cutting blocks with kosher salt to draw out moisture, which prevents mold and bacteria, Wagner said.

Lemon juice also deters the growth of bacteria and mold on wood and kitchen equipment.

A mixture of lemon juice and kosher salt is effective in cleaning copper pans and pots, Wagner said.

Improper methods for storing and preparing food contribute to illnesses.

For a fact sheet, go to

A "Safe Food Handling" fact sheet

What To Read Next
Get Local