Campus News

Spice containers are surprise sources of contamination, says associate director

Tracey Brigman, associate director of the National Center for Home Food Preservation in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, recently discussed food safety practices with Very Well Health.

Many people would be surprised with how dirty kitchens can be. Brigman said that sponges, dish towels, cutting boards and utensils are all easy targets for cross-contamination. A new study showed that spice containers might actually be the dirtiest of them all. Researchers said home cooks will often touch a spice container before they wash their hands or in between handling other foods like raw meats or vegetables. The article highlighted that the most bacteria-prone areas of the kitchen may not be obvious and part of a regular cleaning routine.

Brigman said even phones can be a source of contamination as more and more people look up recipes on their phones and scroll in between touching ingredients. It’s important to think about food safety in all steps of cooking and meal prep.

“Be careful to stock your fridge properly. For instance, make sure you place raw meats on the bottom shelf so they do not drip onto other already prepared foods,” said Brigman.