Food cross contamination
Food Cross Contamination
Food can be contaminated by food poisoning bacteria in several ways. One is by transferring the bacteria from raw foods to prepared and cooked foods - known as cross-contamination.
How does cross-contamination occur?
Bacteria are brought into the kitchen on raw foods such as meat, vegetables and fruit. People working with the foods can also bring bacteria into the kitchen on their hands and clothing. The bacteria can be transferred on work-surfaces, cutting boards, knives and other equipment and by food handlers themselves.
How can cross-contamination be prevented?
There are several precautions you can take to prevent cross-contamination:
Separate cutting boards, knives and other equipment for preparing raw and cooked foods are strongly recommended. If not, always clean equipment properly using detergents and sanitisers after preparing foods, particularly the raw foods.
Thorough cleanliness of food preparation surfaces is vital. Food debris and spillages should be removed immediately and the surfaces cleaned using a suitable sanitiser.
If possible, store raw and cooked foods in separate refrigerators. If using the same refrigerator, always store raw foods below other foods. All foods should be covered.
Do not defrost raw meat or poultry in a sink used for washing equipment unless proper disinfection is carried out afterwards.
Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, especially after handling raw foods. Wash hands thoroughly using soap and dry them using paper towels. Other means for drying hands such as hot air dryers can also be used. If you have to use cloth towels make sure they are clean and changed often.
Keep clothing clean. Aprons and coats that become dirty should be changed immediately.