This is the final operation in the battle against germs. They mustn't be allowed to spread around your kitchen and invade food that's ready to eat! Cross contamination is the spread of bacteria around your kitchen, from food to surfaces and from surfaces to food. This is one of the major causes of food poisoning.
Raw meat and fish contain harmful bacteria that can spread very easily to anything they touch, including other foods, worktops, chopping boards and knives.
It's especially important to keep raw meat and fish away from ready-to-eat food, such as salad, fruit and bread. This is because these types of food won't be cooked before you eat them, so any bacteria that get onto the food won't be killed.
Here are a few simple things you can do to help stop it happening:
keep raw meat and unwashed vegetables separate from ready-to-eat food during storage and preparation
don't let raw meat drip onto other food – keep it in sealed containers at the bottom of your fridge
never use the same chopping board for raw meat and ready-to-eat food without washing the board (and knife) thoroughly in between
don't wash meat before cooking it. Washing doesn't get rid of the harmful germs that can be present – only proper cooking will. You also run the risk of splashing germs onto worktops and utensils.