How Clean Is Your Kitchen?

When it comes to the kitchen, most people probably say that
their countertops and dinnerware are clean.  However, according to a recent article in the MinnPost which highlights a study from NSF International, a non-profit focused on public health and safety issues, we should focus on some unexpected places in our kitchens as well.

According to the study, the “Top Five Germ Hotspots” include blenders, spatulas, knife blocks, can openers and refrigerators. The findings from this report will undoubtedly get you reaching for your cleaning utensils because
the germs and other pathogens found in those hot spots are some of the nastiest around: salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, yeast and mold, according to the report.

Though the study consisted of a small sample– just 20 families swabbing 14 kitchen items, the results were astounding. Twenty-five percent were contaminated with both E. coli and Salmonella, 100 percent of items were contaminated with yeast and mold, and 10 percent with Listeria.  

The study’s authors had suggestions on ways we can ensure our kitchens are cleaner: “The lesson we can all learn as consumers is to follow manufacturer’s directions when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing kitchen
tools and appliances. For instance, blenders need to be disassembled, and the gasket pulled apart from the base, to be cleaned. Refrigerator vegetable and meat compartments need to be cleaned and sanitized regularly. Like all kitchen tools, can openers need washing and sanitizing after each use and rubber spatulas that are detachable should be pulled off the handle to be cleaned. Lastly, rubber seals should be thoroughly cleaned.”

Click here to learn more about the study.

Want a Kitchen that Would Make Gordon Ramsey Jealous? Now You Can

As reality cooking shows depicting amateur chefs using refrigerators, ovens and ranges that would make anyone jealous, even Gordon Ramsey, appliance manufactures have jumped on board to develop home appliances and accessories that look like could’ve come from a high-end restaurant in New York.

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights how the industry is appealing to consumers who have the means to create a “dream kitchen” that not only looks beautiful, but is functional as well.

“We are in a movement where we’re suddenly focused on what the kitchen should truly be,” said Eric Ripert, the famed chef at New York’s Le Bernardin. “And what we’ve seen is that most residential kitchens, while sleek, are totally dysfunctional. They were built by an architect to be beautiful, not to be used by a cook.”   

In addition to foot controlled faucets, some of the other additions now include cabinets designed like wardrobes where one can hang up their pots and pans so they’re out of sight from guests as well as stainless steel countertops that not only brings a professional appearance, but resist bacteria too.

The full article can be viewed here.

Dwell, a magazine devoted to the modern home, has an interesting
from architect Jeffery Beers describing his beliefs on kitchen design
and how this room should be the most social room in the house.

Study: Small Appliances Make Popular Gifts for Weddings, Bridal Showers

Attending a wedding or baby shower this summer? If so, there’s a good chance that you will be bringing a gift with you. Some of the most popular gifts for newlyweds are small appliances, and according to a new study
conducted by The NPD Group, U.S. consumers spent $112 million on gifts of small appliances for bridal showers, engagements and weddings.

According to the study:

“Electric knives were the number one gifted small appliance for bridal occasions during that 12-month time frame, according to the research, followed (in order) by espresso makers, stand mixers, waffle makers
and garment steamers. For all gifting occasions, the top category was massaging appliances, followed (in order) by snow-cone makers/ice shavers, popcorn makers, stand mixers and waffle makers.”

The study also notes that U.S. consumers spent a total of $1.8 billion on appliances for all occasions. The entire article can be found on Home Furnishing News’ website.

What kinds of appliances would you like to receive as a gift? AHAM wants to know.

Help Power Your City with Your Food Waste Disposer

Does your kitchen sink come equipped with a food waste disposer? If so, each time you throw food scraps into it, you could be helping to produce clean energy.

When food scraps enter the sewage system, many local water treatment plants use them to produce biogas – a combination of methane and carbon dioxide – that results from the breakdown of organic waste. These water treatment facilities can thus use biogas to not only power their plant, but also send any excess energy into natural gas pipelines and the electricity grid.

A recent article in United Airlines’ Hemisphere magazine notes the increasing popularity of using food scraps to produce energy:

“Having caught on to the value of organic waste, a number of cities are looking for ways to increase the amount that flows to their sewage plants. Across the U.S., nearly 850 wastewater treatment plants use biogas as a source of energy. Some municipalities are even tapping local businesses’ byproducts, using everything from brewery hops to over-the-hill supermarket produce in order to ramp up biogas production. In fact, the race to make biogas is altering the image of the sewage treatment industry, which is rebranding itself from ‘wastewater management’ to ‘water resource recovery.’”

An article on the Triple Pudit web site also discusses the benefits of foodwaste disposers:

“Even the most well-informed of green-tech junkies likely overlooked a pair of reports published in early 2011 that could have major implications for the way humanity disposes of its food waste. Taken together, the two reports, one from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the other from sustainability consultancy PE Americas, draw a vivid conclusion: Garbage disposals…could help slow climate change.”

According to the Massachusetts report, “If additional organic waste streams are diverted to these facilities to supplement municipal wastewater solids, even greater efficiencies and energy potential can be attained for energy generation onsite and resale to the grid. Such a program leads to environmental benefits from methane capture, renewable energy generation, and organic waste volume reduction.”

For more information on food waste disposers, visit AHAM’s information page on the benefits of food waste recycling.  The Sallan Foundation also has an interesting article about how some communities are dealing with this issue. So the next time you throw yesterday’s leftovers down the kitchen sink, you could be helping to power your city!

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