How to prevent cross contamination - 2021

How to prevent cross contamination

If you make the effort to separate your food while storing and preparing it, disinfects your kitchen surfaces and equipment and practice proper personal hygiene, you can create an environment of kitchen continue food safety guidelines .

What is cross contamination?

safe handling of steaks

Cross contamination occurs when disease-causing microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, are transferred from one food to another. As a result, cross contamination is one of the leading causes of foodborne illness. Cross contact is most often caused by cutting boards, hands, or cutting tools. kitchen unwashed, such as knives and tongs.

While cooking at food safe temperatures will kill dangerous bacteria, most food contamination occurs when bacteria in raw food interact with food that does not need to be cooked.

How to prevent foodborne illness

The best way to prevent foodborne illness is to be aware of the risk of contamination at every step of the food preparation process. It is possible to contaminate food before it is prepared, during preparation, and even when food is served to your customer. The implementation of a HACCP program , or a program Analysis Hazards and Critical Control Points, will help you identify and control contamination risks.

Teaching your entire staff how to prevent cross contamination can help keep your food safe from the moment it arrives at your store. kitchen until they are delivered to your guests' tables. By requiring that your staff kitchen get a food handling certification or food handler permits, you can further ensure that your kitchen is a safe and hygienic environment.

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Prevention of cross contamination through food storage

You can avoid contaminating food before preparing it by using proper food storage techniques. Proper storage of food in the refrigerator is important to avoid cross contamination, as many types of food are often stored in one place. In this environment, contaminants can easily spread from one food to another if they have not been properly protected or organized. When organizing your kitchen, follow these guidelines to store food safely:

    • Keep raw meats and dairy in sturdy, well-sealed food storage containers to avoid contact with other foods. 
      • ServSafe recommends storing food in the following order from top to bottom according to the minimum internal cooking temperature for each product: ready-to-eat foods, seafood, whole cuts of beef and pork, ground meat and ground fish, whole and ground poultry.
      • If space and budget allow, store your raw meats and dairy products in separate refrigeration units from your fruits, vegetables, and other ready-to-eat items.

Prevention of cross contamination during food preparation

Even if food has been stored properly, opportunities for cross contamination still exist once your staff start preparing meals. Use the following preparation practices to avoid cross contamination of food:

how to prevent cross contamination

      • Clean your surfaces before preparing food on them and be sure to sanitize them between uses. Failure to clean a work surface after preparing raw meat will contaminate any food or equipment you place on it afterward.
      • For added security, use color-coded cutting boards to differentiate supplies used for raw meat, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables.
      • Try to use color coded chef knives to easily designate your knives for the same reason. Following HACCP guidelines for color-coded knives, green knives should be used with fresh produce, white knives for dairy, yellow with raw poultry, red with raw meat, blue for raw fish, and brown knives should be used with cooked meat.
      • To avoid contamination, equipment should be kept separate from food storage areas once it has been cleaned and disinfected. 

Practice proper personal hygiene

Sometimes contaminants stay on your employees' hands and clothing. Here are some ways to prevent cross contamination from poor hygiene habits:

      • Require your kitchen staff to wear aprons and hats to protect food from external contaminants found on the body or clothing.
      • To keep hands free from contamination, have employees wear disposable gloves and make sure gloves are changed when an employee begins handling a new food or material.
      • Also have employees wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, especially when handling raw meat, fish, or poultry.

Safe food handling

Contamination prevention doesn't end until the food is brought to your customer's table. That said, cross-contamination can occur if utensils, glasses, and plates are mishandled while your tables are set or cleared. To avoid contamination when serving food to your guests, consider the following tips on how to handle food safely:

      • When placing prepared foods, avoid using the same utensils to serve different foods. Have one for meat, fish, and poultry, and another for side dishes like veggies or starches.
      • Never put ice or garnish in a glass with bare hands, instead use a spoon or tongs.
      • Always hold utensils by their handles and not by the portions that will come into contact with your customers' food.
      • Similarly, have your servers manipulate your guests' plates by their base, without touching any part of the plate where food can go.

Products to prevent cross contamination

Now that you know how to avoid cross contamination in your processes, of preparation, consider these products that facilitate the practice of sanitary habits.

      • Probe wipes are essential for sterilizing probe thermometers after each use.
      • Because they are used only once, disposable food thermometers help eliminate the risk of cross contamination.
      • Day of the week and product labels allow you to clearly label food in your storage areas, so your employees know what is being stored and when it is safe to eat.
      • Try color-coded probe thermometers to avoid cross contamination while ensuring your food is cooked to safe temperatures.

To avoid cross contamination in your kitchen, it is important to practice sanitary habits in all your food preparation processes. Food can become contaminated as early as during storage and as late as during service. Keeping your food safe means familiarizing yourself and your employees with techniques and products to prevent cross contamination. You can refer to this article as a guide to begin the practices that will help you have a safe and hygienic kitchen.

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cross contamination