Does your kitchen pass the health inspection test?

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – When you go out to eat you expect the restaurant to be clean and trust the chef to follow the proper health guidelines, but when it comes to handling and storing food in your home do you follow the same expectations?  An online survey found one in seven home kitchens would not pass a restaurant inspection.

Diane Withrow, A hotel-restaurant management educator from CFCC went into Valirie Lewis' home to put her kitchen to the test.

"I constantly wash my hands and try to keep the kitchen clean and I thought, 'Oh, I've got this!'" explained Lewis.

Withrow began her inspection in Lewis' refrigerator.  Automatically she deducted three points because some raw chicken was stored above some ready-to-eat food.  According to Withrow, raw foods should be stored on the bottom shelf.

Next, Withrow asked Lewis if she likes to have a drink while she prepares dinner and how she handles that.

"I just grab a glass, put some ice in it, pour the drink in it, and you drink it," answered Lewis.

A drink with no lid and no straw is a health code violation, said Withrow, so three more points were taken away.  Lewis even lost points for handling food without gloves and wearing a ring.  The biggest violation came when she was asked how she handles leftovers.  Lewis, like most of us, lets the food cool on the stove then puts it in the refrigerator.

The food inspection sheet includes 49 items, with a perfect score of 100.  Lewis received a score of 61.  Withrow said Lewis would be shut down if she were a restaurant.

Lewis said she learned a lot through the process and is ready to make some changes in her kitchen.  She said she has a new respect for restaurants and all the work that goes into the health grade.

Here are a few easy changes you can make at home to improve your health score:

  • Wash your hands in the bathroom, instead of the kitchen sink.
  • Make sure you store food in the refrigerator properly.  Meats should go on the bottom shelves, so they don't drip on anything.
  • Keep a meat thermometer handy to make sure your meat is cooked properly.
  • Don't thaw meat on the counter.

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