8 Investigates: Home Health Inspection; can your kitchen pass the test?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Can your kitchen pass the health inspection test?  Jane Cuerton opened up her kitchen to Region 8 News to see if her home kitchen could get a health inspector's stamp of approval.

Jane loves to cook.  She also spends a lot of time in her kitchen and invites her big family over every Sunday for her made from scratch recipes.  But could her kitchen pass?

Craighead County Health Inspector Danny Eddy offered his assistance.  Eddy says he's never inspected a home kitchen.

I asked Jane if she thinks she'll pass.  "Oh, I'm not sure.  When I cook, I always clean as I go," says Cuerton.

After Eddy washed his hands, the first thing he checked was the refrigerator temperature.

"I start in the cooler looking at temperatures.  Look at the food, how it's stored, how they're cooling food, and all that….your temperature is 39 degrees," said Eddy.

You may 'ask what does that mean.'  Eddie says safe temperature is anything 41 degrees or less.

Eddy then evaluated food storage in the refrigerator.  "You have your eggs on an upper shelf and I would always recommend any eggs, any meat to be stored in the bottom most shelf or drawer.  I've seen eggs crack and actually ooze out over the carton and get over everything underneath them," said Eddy.

"I did not know that.  I did not know the need to store them in the lower part of the refrigerator.  So that's good," said Cuerton.

Eddy also recommends to check your food for frequently for expiration dates.  "I would have them date it for the day they made this and they would have seven days to use it," said Eddy.

Next, Eddy checks out the pantry.  "We would be looking at the way food is stored, we would be looking to see that you don't have chemicals in the pantry.  All of the food needs to be at least 6 inches off the floor.  One reason is for insect control, and also to keep chemicals from getting on food when you clean the floor," said Eddy.

From the pantry, we headed to the microwave, "One of the easiest thing to miss on the microwave is, yours is nice and clean here, is that if you don't cover food it will splatter up to the top," said Eddy.

The food stuck up there could create bacteria that might lead to a food-borne illness if it gets into other foods you heat up.

Finally, Eddy looks at the exterior part of the kitchen.  "The floor is good, easily cleanable.  It's a little dark. Counter tops are nice, could be easily cleaned and sanitized," said Eddy.

When we asked how Jane did, Eddy's response said it all…."When can I come to lunch?  You did very well, very well," said Eddy.

A just one more tip, Eddie says when you thaw out food, it's best to do it in the refrigerator and not lay it out.  He says it's because there is the chance the food could sit at an unsafe temperature for too long.

I do want to note that the inspection was slightly altered considering it was not a commercial kitchen and food was not prepared during the time of inspection.

For a closer look at what the food inspection check sheet look like, click on link to the side of the story.

  1. To ensure food is stored at a safe temperature, make sure your refrigerator is keep 41 degrees or below.
  2. The best way to thaw out any kind of meat is in the refrigerator.
  3. Keep eggs and raw meat in the lowest part of the refrigerator (even if it's in a drawer).
  4. Clean the microwave often.  Food that splatters could form bacteria that could possibly lead to a food-borne illness if it gets into other food heated in the microwave.
  5. When it comes to pantry storage, keep all items at least 6inches off the floor.  Also, do not store any chemicals or cleaning supply anywhere food it kept.

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