How to Stay Safe in The Kitchen

By: Rina Walia

Preventing Kitchen Accidents

  • The most common of kitchen accidents are cuts, slips and falls, burns, fires, shocks, and poisoning.
  • Cuts can be prevented by keeping knives in a different drawer so that they are not stored in the same area as harmless spoons or forks. Also make sure to wash knives directly after use, so that you don't accidentally nick yourself while reaching into the sink to wash the other dishes.
  • Slips and falls can be prevented by wiping up any spilled material right away, and/or closing all cabinets as soon as you're done with them so that people do not bump into the open doors.
  • Burns can be prevented by using things like oven mitts or pot holders when handling hot kitchen utensils, pots, etc. You should make sure that all food is dry before frying in hot oil as well.
  • Fires can be prevented by staying near your cooking at all times as to not leave it unattended. Also, you can ensure that all kitchen elements are clean and dry before use.
  • Shocks can be prevented by making sure that your hands are completely dry before handling any electronic equipment in the kitchen. You should also grasp the plug when unplugging electronic equipment--not the cord!
  • Poisoning can be prevented by keeping cleaning products and chemicals away from any food items. Also, do not mix any kind of household chemicals.

What to Do in An Emergency

Kitchen fire?

For a pan fire:

  1. Smother the fire with copious amounts of baking soda, or slide a pot lid over the source to cut off the oxygen
  2. Turn off the heat source

For an oven fire:

  1. Leave oven closed
  2. Turn off oven
  3. Let the fire burn out

Cut yourself by accident?

  1. Clean the cut under running water
  2. Wash with mild soap
  3. Stop the bleeding--use a paper towel!
  4. Cover the cut with a bandage, or with gauze and tape

Burned yourself?

  1. Run under cold water for 10-20 minutes
  2. Clean the area using mild soap and water
  3. Cover with a cloth--make sure it is clean and cool

All About Foodborne Illness

Foodborne Illness: Sickness resulting from eating food that is not safe to eat

Conditions That Promote Growth

  • Food: bacteria need foods (particularly moist and protein-rich foods) to grow
  • Time: the longer bacteria is allowed to sit, the faster it will grow/multiply
  • Temperature: bacteria grow rapidly in a warm environment
  • Oxygen: aerobic microorganisms need oxygen to grow; anaerobic microorganisms do not
  • Moisture: microorganisms grow best in a moist environment

Common Foodborne Illnesses

  • Campylobacter Jejuni (or Campylobacter)
  • Clostridium Botulinum (or Botulism)
  • E. Coli 0157:H7 (or Ecoli)
  • Listeria Monocytogenes (Listeria)
  • Salmonella

Common Culprits

  • Raw foods (e.g. eggs, milk, meats, fruits and vegetables, etc.)
  • Untreated drinking water
  • Improperly cured meat products
  • Unpasteurized dairy products

Preventing Foodborne Illness

There are four basic steps to preventing foodborne illnesses:

1. Clean

  • Wash hands thoroughly and regularly
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, counter tops etc. with warm/hot, soapy water
  • Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables

2. Separate

  • Keep raw meats away/separate from other food items
  • Use a different cutting board for meats, and a different one for other food items
  • Never put cooked food on a surface that previously held raw meats, or eggs

3. Cook

  • Use a food thermometer
  • Ensure that food does not remain cold when cooking in a microwave oven
  • When reheating sauces, soups, and gravies, make sure that they come to a boil before consuming

4. Chill

  • Refrigerate or freeze meats and other perishables as soon as possible after purchase
  • Do not let any food items remain at room temperature for more than two hours
  • Never defrost foods by leaving them at room temperature; instead, use cold water, a microwave, or a fridge


  • Notes taken during class