What is contamination?
The presence of substances and conditions in food that can be harmful to humans.
What is cross-contamination?
The transfer of biological, physical or chemical contaminants to food products from raw foods, food handlers, and food processing equipment.
The type of cross-contamination most frequently implicated in food-borne illness occurs when pathogenic bacteria or viruses are transferred to ready-to-eat foods. Cross-contamination is one of the major causes of food poisoning.
How does cross-contamination happen?
- Storing raw and ready- to-eat food together
- Not washing hands after touching raw food
- Using the same chopping board or knife for raw and ready-to-eat food without proper cleaning
- Handling raw product, then handling cooked product
- Touching unclean cooler door handle, then handling product
- Shovel used to handle floor waste, also used to handle product
Tips to minimize cross-contamination
- Don’t prepare food when you are sick
- Wash your hands
- Separate ready-to-eat foods from raw foods
- Separate different types of raw foods
- Clean and sanitize/disinfect between different types of food.
- Use labels and color coding in segregating raw materials and utensils
- Food handling or processing areas and equipment adequately cleaned and sanitized.
- Keep food in clean, covered containers separate from chemicals.
- Use different (or properly cleaned and sanitized) surfaces and utensils for raw and ready-to-eat food.
- Adequate separation of raw and cooked or ready-to-eat product during receiving, processing, storage and shipping.