KUSA — One in 6 people will get sick from a foodborne illness this year. We often think this is from the foods we are eating out or not washing, but what about the things in our own kitchens that may be making us sick?
Here is the germ edition of Fact or Fiction.
Should I wash my reusable grocery bag once a month? FICTION
You should wash that bag after every use. And make sure you have a designated reusable bag for produce, vegetables and fruit and another one that is only used for meats, poultry and seafood.
Often times, meats -- especially in the heat -- can start to leak through the packaging. That can spread bacteria like E. Coli, Listeria, Campylobacter and Salmonella to other foods that are in the bag with it.
The best way to make sure you keep those bags clean is to wash them after every use. Also, make sure you wash and dry them in the washing machine and dryer to get rid of all of the extra bacteria. With the heat, also make sure you do not store these bags in the car, as it can become a Petri dish for bacteria to grow in!
As long as I microwave my sponge, I am killing all of the bacteria on it? FICTION
A recent study in Scientific Reports said nuking your sponge may kill the weaker bacteria and let the stronger bacteria survive and even thrive in your newly-nuked sponge.
They looked at 14 dirty sponges and found about 82 billion bacteria per 1 cubic inch of space. Pretty much about as much bacteria as you would find a in a stool sample.
So, replace that sponge every week to make sure you are keeping yourself and your family and friends healthy. If you are thrifty and still want to use that sponge some more, the study authors say to throw it in the wash on extra hot setting and then use it to clean the bathroom instead. Or, just get a new one!
Pot holders can be washed and reused? FACT
Yes. Hot cycle in the washing machine will keep them from being filled with food remnants. But most importantly, it also makes sure that they are not cross-contaminating your countertops, cutting boards and other surfaces.
When was the last time you washed your pot holders? Bacteria can live on surfaces for up to 1 week. So when you are checking on that chicken dinner, those salmonella bacteria can stay on that oven mitt and then get transferred over to the rest of your kitchen, and your hands, which can make you and others sick.
Wash it at least one to two times a month depending on how often you are cooking with those oven mitts.