Lessons learned from a home kitchen health inspection

cut strawberries

Our friend, Faith Durand, recently volunteered for an interesting experiment – inviting a health inspector to come and check on her home kitchen. In the Kitchn’s  A Health Inspector Visited My Kitchen, and Here’s What Happened, she reported on the trial: 

“It all started with an email from Mary, a reporter at The Columbus Dispatch, the local newspaper in my town. ‘We are looking to have a health inspector examine a home kitchen the way they might a professional kitchen,’ she said. And she had immediately thought of me – not because I have a dirty kitchen, she hastened to add, but because I write about food and, she said, I seemed ‘like the kind of person who might be game for this.’

Oh really? Let a health inspector run his gloved fingers over my kitchen? Was I brave enough? I couldn’t turn down a dare, and a few weeks later two city health inspectors, a photographer, and a reporter showed up at my door. Here’s what happened.”

She goes on to report the inspection, but here are some interesting findings:

  • Keep your refrigerator thermometer in the door – that’s usually the warmest area and where temperature-sensitive milk lives.
  • Keep meats away from other foods – preferably in its own drawer.
  • Some surprising foods need to be refrigerated immediately, such as cooked rice.

She reports more extensively on  three takeaways, (see the article for the full explanation):

  1. “The real rules for getting food into a safe temperature zone are not as difficult as I thought they were…cool food from 135°F (or over) to 70°F within two hours. You can use ice baths or ice paddles – anything to cool that food quickly. But after that you have four more hours for the food to cool to the final 41°F or less. “
  2. Don’t leave cut fruits and vegetables at room temperature. 
  3. Use rags or dishcloths instead of sponges. “

And for more about Faith Durand, check out our interview with her about her latest cookbook, Bakeless Sweets.

Photo of cut strawberries from Martin LaBar on Flickr


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