The satisfaction gained from preparing a home cooked meal for the family can quickly transition into a night of stomach aches and even warrant medical help. What began as a beautiful experience can go awry when proper precautions aren’t taken in the kitchen to prevent food borne illnesses and cross-contamination during the meal preparation process. Believe it or not, even the cleanest chefs can accidentally contaminate food due to one aspect of the kitchen—the countertops. Beyond following the strictest protocols of food safety basics, these countertop materials can help prevent food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses.
When properly used, laminate countertops can last for many years and provide a sanitary cooking area. However, this means using a chopping block to prevent leaving knife gashes that are infamous for holding food particulates and juices. Formica laminate can also scorch easily, so hot pads are a must to prevent burning the surface and inviting residue in. Treat these affordable countertops right, and they’ll do the same in return.
Those looking for a strong, non-reactive countertop that offers all of the advantages of granite – but that is even more environmentally friendly and impact resistant – will love engineered quartz countertops. Regular sealing treatments help create a micro-ban that helps protect against common foodborne germs and cross contamination.
Crafted from crushed glass embedded into clear resin, recycled glass implements are attractive, resilient, smooth and completely nonporous. Those that are into sustainable home design might find this to be an attractive option, as glass is a fully recyclable material. Because of their resiliency, cleanup while cooking is simple and fast to help maintain a culinary safe zone. These countertops are also heat-resistant and virtually stain-proof, making them a food-friendly choice for the more conscientious chef.
Solid surface materials like soapstone and Corian are amid the highest rated top-selling countertop choices. A bit of sanitizing cleaner, hot water and a soft cloth is about all it takes to maintain these scratch and heat-resistant countertops. They are typically designed to be ‘virtually seamless’ meaning there are minimal chances of food harboring itself into the countertop for cross-contamination opportunities.
Stone countertops like granite are renowned for their natural beauty and ease of maintenance. Completely seamless granite countertops are highly stain resistant, clean up easily and can withstand hot pots on its surfaces. While granite has risen to become a top choice in culinary enthusiasts’ kitchens for good reason, it will require resealing every few years.
Stainless steel counters are the most popular choice in commercial kitchens for a number of appealing reasons which also appeal to the culinary-inclined homeowner. They are ultra-sanitary, super easy to clean, and can withstand just about any type of heat and accidental drops in the kitchen. Stainless steel countertops are also the lowest maintenance product available today and never require resealing or refinishing while living up to their name of being stainless. While it’s one of the most expensive types of countertop installations, it can literally last a lifetime in even the toughest kitchen environments.
At the End of the Day, It’s all About Preferences
A homeowner’s choice in countertop material will often reflect their own personal style as well as their willingness or ability to perform general maintenance duties. With careful preparation, just about any material can do the job. However, some countertops will simply make it easier to stay safe in the kitchen. Busy cooks should consider the options above and see if any fit their lifestyle best.
Thank you to Justin Havre REALTOR® for this guest post.