Cross contamination is the spread of bacteria around your kitchen, from food to surfaces and from surfaces to food and can be a major cause of food poisoning. There are stages to be aware of cross-contaminating food, for example when preparing and storing food. Here are some tips that you can follow to avoid cross contamination in the kitchen and keep you and your family safe.
- Wash hands thoroughly after touching raw foods and before handling ready-to-eat foods
- Don't wash meat before cooking it. It won’t get rid of the harmful germs and you could splash germs onto other things.
- Keep raw foods and ready-to-eat foods separate during storage and preparation
- Don’t use the same chopping board for raw foods (such as raw meat and vegetables) and ready-to-eat food without washing the board thoroughly in between uses
- Store raw foods away from ready-to-eat foods
Don't let raw meat drip onto other food – keep all meat, poultry, fish and shellfish in sealed containers at the bottom of your fridge.
Raw meat and fish contain harmful bacteria that can spread very easily to anything they touch, including other foods, worktops, chopping boards and knives.
Should I wash raw chicken?
No. You shouldn't wash raw chicken or any other raw meat before cooking. Washing won't get rid of any harmful germs that could be present, only proper cooking will. If you wash meat before cooking it, you could splash harmful germs onto onto hands, work surfaces, ready-to-eat foods and cooking equipment. These germs could then cause food poisoning.
Keeping raw and ready to eat food separate
It's especially important to keep raw meat and fish away from ready-to-eat food, such as salad, fruit and bread. We sometimes don’t cook these ingredients so there’s no chance to kill bacteria before it’s eaten.
Raw food is food that will be cooked or re-heated before eating compared to ready-to-eat foods that can be eaten without any further processing.