Cross Contamination
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Cross Contamination is the transfer of harmful pathogens to food from other foods, cutting boards, knives and/or utensils. Cross Contamination is an especial risk when handling raw meat, poultry, raw eggs and seafood. Keep these foods and their juices away from already cooked or ready-to-eat foods and fresh produce. For example when refrigerating foods: place raw meat, poultry and/or seafood in separate containers or sealed plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods. The raw juices can contain harmful bacteria. Never stack raw meats above fresh vegetables where the raw juices can drip onto the produce. If your refrigerator comes with a meat drawer over a vegetable drawer, the drawer should be leak proof. Be extra vigilant in case it gets cracked or worn.

When serving food, always use a clean plate. Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that previously held the raw food. If reusing your cutting board that has touched raw, disinfect it by washing under hot water with disinfectant soap or sanitize it. We cover how to sanitize a cutting board in Exercise 5. Another way to avoid the issue is to maintain two cutting boards, one for raw, one for cooked. The route you take will depend on your budget and your kitchen space.

When handling foods it is important to “Be Smart & Keep Foods Apart” so that you do not cross contaminate them.