Following the recipe for food safety is a must anytime you're in the kitchen, and it starts with clean hands, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says.
"Always wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food," spokeswoman Isabel Maples advised in an academy news release. "Don't forget to wash your hands after handling raw meat and poultry to avoid spreading germs through the juices."
Wash fruits and vegetables, but don't wash meat and poultry before cooking. Doing so could spread harmful bacteria to your sink and surrounding kitchen areas, she explained.
"Clean your counter tops with hot, soapy water. Use paper towels or disinfectant wipes, instead of washcloths or sponges, which can harbor bacteria," Maples said.
Take apart small appliances -- such as can openers and blenders -- to clean them, then air dry completely before storing, she recommended.
"Clean your refrigerator every few weeks to rid it of potentially dangerous residue from raw foods. Rid your refrigerator of leftovers after four days. When in doubt, throw it out," Maples said.