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Cross Contamination
Susan Waggoner
April 16, 2012
Ron Hogan

Cross Contamination
The City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services says “Be Smart- Keep Foods Apart- Don’t Cross Contaminate!” Cross Contamination, which is the leading cause of foodborne illness, is the transfer of harmful bacteria to food from improperly handled cutting boards, utensils or other foods. (1) It is important to keep raw meat, poultry and seafood separate and then keep their juices away from the cooked meat(s) and ready to eat foods so you don’t Cross Contaminate.
Below are some simple steps you can take to prevent Cross Contamination.
When shopping, make sure you separate the raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods in the grocery cart. A good way to do this is to place the item(s) in a plastic bag so they don’t drip on the other foods.
When storing, place all meats in containers or bags to prevent juices from dripping. It’s also a good idea to store eggs in their original container in the refrigerator.
When preparing, it is important to use soap and hot water to clean kitchen surfaces. Use a sanitizer to clean spills and kitchen counter tops. Always wash hands with soap and hot water before and after handling food. It’s important to wash hands and surfaces often because harmful bacteria can spread throughout the food preparation area and contaminate everything from the cutting board to the person’s hands. Use a clean cutting board and keep different cutting boards for different products. It’s also important to replace the cutting boards as needed.
When cooking, be sure and cook all foods to their proper temperature. If cooking meat, you can use a meat thermometer to be sure that it’s cooked to it’s safe temperature, which is about 140 degrees, otherwise bacteria can multiply rapidly at ranges between 40-140 degrees. Any leftovers need to be put in…...

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