Food-borne illnesses are often caused by cross –contamination. Cross contamination is the transfer of harmful bacteria from one food to another. It takes space when pathogens are transferred between food, surfaces or equipment.
Contaminants that are of primary concern to food manufacturers are pathogen bacteria, viruses and food allergens.
While most cross-contamination cases occur in the back-of-the-house, servers can cause this situation as well.
An example of this is using the same cutting board to cut salad tomatoes and to slice raw chicken. Other example: food containing allergens is not cleaned off equipment properly and the allergens then contaminate a product that is supposed to be allergen free.
Cross contamination is most likely to happen when:
*raw food touches or direct contact a high risk food – this is direct contamination
*Liquid or juices from a raw food drip on to a high risk food - this is indirect contamination or drip contamination
*Bacteria are carried by hands or utensils form a raw food to a high risk food – this is indirect contamination.
Illness will result of the newly contaminated food item is not cooked thoroughly before service.
Cross-contamination can occur in manufacturing plants, grocery stores, restaurants and in the home.
How to avoid cross-contamination?
*Properly store raw food below ready-to-eat food
*Never mix food products when restocking
*Have separate preparation areas for raw and cooked items
*Properly clean and sanitize utensil, equipment and surfaces
*Clean and sanitize work areas when changing from food preparation
*Ensuring food is properly covered during storage
What is cross contamination of food?
About Food Safety
Food safety can be defined as the “the avoidance of food borne pathogens, chemical toxicants and physical hazards, but also includes issues of nutrition, food quality and education.” The focus is on “microbial, chemical or physical hazards from substances than can cause adverse consequences.”
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