Food viruses can be spread by kitchen knives - scientists

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  • 1

    papigiulio

    standard practice? Everyone who works in a kitchen should know the first rule is wash your hands.

  • 1

    gaijintraveller

    Even more likely to hoard bugs are cutting boards. In restaurants in many countries wooden cutting boards are illegal. What about Japan?

  • 1

    lucabrasi

    In restaurants in many countries wooden cutting boards are illegal. What about Japan?

    A lot of the top sushi restaurants use wooden chopping boards, but they plane the top layer off after each use, which is one (rather drastic) way of staying germ-free.

  • 2

    Cos

    As for recommending what to do, she acknowledged that it could be impractical to wash a knife or grater between each vegetable.

    That's what I usually do. What is impractical ? I have a sink in my kitchen. It's not camping. Well, you can cut the onion, ginger, garlic with 1 knife, as they will cook together anyway. But then take a second knife (or wash the first) for the carrots that you will serve raw, so you don't bring the dirt from onion peels into your carrot salad. Veggie salad are the biggest cause of foodborne illnesses. Most people will be careful with eggs, fish or meat, but assume fruit and veggies are miraculously clean.

    A lot of the top sushi restaurants use wooden chopping boards, but they plane the top layer off after each use,

    Not after each use, only once a day.

    which is one (rather drastic) way of staying germ-free.

    The article explains why it's not enough. I change of cutting board for each veggie/ingredient. I have a dozen of thin boards. I've seen pros having a dozen of thick ones, same reason.

    In restaurants in many countries wooden cutting boards are illegal.

    They forbade them in the E.U, then they found that was useless as the alternative were not better. The solution seem to be changing of board/knife/dish... so you avoid to move germs from one ingredient to the other.

  • 4

    zichi

    We use separate knives for each action. One for veg, one for raw veg and another for meats........

  • 2

    Serrano

    Did it take a scientist to figure this out? Anything that has not been throughly washed and touches food can contaminate it.

    "a vomiting bug"

    I hope that never grows to a size that can be seen with the naked eye.

  • 2

    Frungy

    However, “it would be wise to wash (the utensil) carefully between meals rather than leaving it on the counter, thinking it’s not that dirty,” using a dishwasher or at dishwater-type temperature, she said.

    ... did these "researchers" actually go anywhere near a professional kitchen? Every knife, pot, pan, etc. is washed thoroughly with scalding hot water between each service.

    Also, I own a set of professional chef's knives. I paid a lot for them, but I've had the same set for nearly 10 years and they're in perfect condition because after I use them I wash them with soap and water to remove any oils or corrosive juices (blood is a mild corrosive, as are the juices of many fruit and vegetables), then dry them, then wipe them down with an oily cloth to prevent rust, and then put them back in their case. Every professional chef I know follows the same routine, since these sort of knives are too expensive to replace regularly and they're the tools of their trade.

    It only takes a minute to clean your knives properly, and the high carbon knives in Japan are excellent but really do need to be washed, dried and oiled quickly or they corrode very easily.

  • 2

    philly1

    Hand washing, dedicated cutting boards that can be put in the dishwasher, and the separation and care of knives that Zichi and Frungy describe should be routine in every kitchen-whether at home or in a restaurant. Wooden cutting boards do resist bacteria; however, they must be properly cleaned after each use as well. That doesn't mean a quick rinse! As a general rule, wooden boards should not be used for meat or fish, but planing the surface after use is one way of safely maintaining it.

    And don't forget, the "clean" vegetables may have been contaminated by anyone who has touched them--in the store or on the farm or in between. Where have those hands been? And were those hands properly washed (the Japanese quick dip under cold water, a finger flink and pat dry on a pocket towel does not qualify) before touching the produce?

  • 2

    kominka

    Sit at the counter of a restaurant here in Japan and look into the kitchen. Chances are you will be able to spot at least a few Food Handling 101 mistakes. Having cooked at a small restaurant in the US while attending college, I can vouch for the fact that inspectors showed up fairly often and performed rather extensive inspections at the place where I worked. Are restaurants here inspected?
    For cleaning your cutting boards, a diluted bleach solution works great.

  • 2

    Seawolf

    In some ways wooden boards are not worse than those plastic ones because they absorb moisture very quick and thus leave bacteria(viruses?) in the dry, whereas on plastic surfaces the moisture stays on the surface, esp little cuts made by sharp knives and thus favor the survival of those nasty little things. Inspection of "normal" restaurants is very seldom and mostly comes with appointment only, no surprise visits in this country. Best thing to do if you experienced something bad, inform the ward/town office of that area, they will look after it. Chain restaurants and hotels have their own internal team that makes real surprise visits, and mostly will give points, plus or minus, that might be used as a ranking to calculate bonus payments. Many hotels esp follow the HACCP rules since any outbreak will receive coverage in the media with company name mentioned. On the downhand I feel this is one of the reasons food at hotels, except for high-end restaurants, doesn't taste good, only average because ingredients are often used ready-made, since real home-made ingredients like soup, sauce etc will have a fast expiry date.

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