Avoiding Cross-Contamination: The Importance of Health

October 18, 2017

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Every kitchen, grocery store and dining room are environments favorable to the production of bacteria and microbes, making it important to be cautious for those with allergies. According to the Government of Canada, there are an estimated 4 million cases of foodborne diseases each year. Many of these cases can be stopped by adopting safe practices while handling food. Therefore, in this article we will teach you what cross-contamination is and how it can be avoided.

What is Cross-Contamination?

The risk of cross-contamination is present whenever a raw food passes bacteria to cooked or prepared food. It can be transmitted from one item to another, for example peanuts near cake, in the case of allergens, may cause an allergic reaction. It can also be transmitted from a food manipulator, such as unwashed hands, coughing, sneezing or hair. It can spread when touched by an unproperly cleaned or sanitized utensil or work surface, such as a knife, spoon, cutting board, etc.

The 7 Most Dangerous Manipulators that Could Cause Cross-Contamination

  1. Cutting raw meat on a cutting board, wiping it with a cloth and placing cooked meat on it, all without washing and sanitizing it properly.
  2. Putting cooked meat on a plate containing raw meat.
  3. Using the same knife to cut raw and cooked food.
  4. Storing raw food on cooked or prepared food.
  5. Placing food on an unsanitary surface.
  6. Tasting a recipes with your fingers.
  7. Eating or drinking over a work surface.

Good Habits to Adopt

Even though there are many situations where cross-contamination could occur, it is highly preventable with just a few simple steps:

  • Washing hands before and after handling food;
  • Not using the same surfaces, cutting boards, or utensils for raw and cooked foods;
  • Preparing raw and cooked food separately, especially meat and fish;
  • Putting raw foods on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator and cooked and prepared food above;
  • Cleaning all kitchen equipment and surfaces that have been in contact with any raw foods by washing and sanitizing;
  • Separating raw meat from other food in your shopping cart and grocery bags;
  • Freezing raw meat if you do not eat it within a few days;
  • Handling food associated with allergic reactions with caution;
  • Tasting recipes with different utensils;
  • Avoiding scratching, touching of the face, sneezing and coughing on the food being prepared;
  • Preparing cooked food before raw food, as they are more susceptible to risk;
  • Replacing damaged cutting boards to prevent the spread of bacteria.

To make sure cross-contamination doesn’t happen in your kitchen, be sure to have the best quality kitchen tools ready for use. This includes having at least two wooden cutting boards. One will be used for meat and fish and the other for fruit and vegetables. Remember that your kitchen is also a place of creativity so why not customize your cutting boards with a laser engraving of your choice. Visit our online store for ideas!

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