The Importance of Sanitary Conditions and Handwashing in Retail and Home Kitchens

It is alarming to consider whether a favorite neighborhood eatery is truly maintaining sanitary conditions in its kitchen. This is also a factor for people who cook at home or have dinner at a friend’s house. Consider the importance of sanitary conditions and what can be done to maintain them — at work and at home.


As simple as it sounds, handwashing is a major issue when it comes to keeping food preparation areas sanitary. People forget to wash their hands after using the restroom or when they go from one type of food to another. From fecal matter to cross contamination, it can lead to foodborne illnesses and violations of local health codes. It is important for food preparers to wash their hands prior to handling food and beverages. This is also true for people who are cooking at home.

Sanitary Equipment

Dirty dishes are another factor in a kitchen. Failing to use hot water, an inefficient dishwasher or trying to wash dishes in less time than required are all factors. Stainless steel appliances, dishes, and sanitary strainers can all help to maintain sanitary conditions in a retail kitchen. This holds true in a home kitchen, too. Use stainless steel utensils and pots that are properly washed in hot water with dish soap.


The vision of someone working at a greasy spoon with their hair hanging over the food still continues to be an unfortunate reality at some retail food establishments. Wearing an apron and hair net or hat can help. At home, people can pull their hair back before cooking. It also makes sense for someone to avoid cooking if they are sick enough to be constantly coughing and sneezing — which can be quite unsanitary if it is done over the food.

Food Safety Magazine reports that only 20 percent of people actually wash their hands before they prepare food. Only about half of men wash their hands after using the restroom and 75 percent of women. Retail eateries can develop more stringent policies regarding sanitary conditions and provide training. At home, it can be as simple as keeping ourselves and our kitchen clean — which include washing our hands.

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