Articles - November 28, 2022

Cross-Contamination

Here's Everything You Need to Know

With millions of people worldwide contracting foodborne illnesses each year, cross-contamination is a 'monster' that cannot be taken lightly. Wondering what this entails? This guide has been written for you. But if you already know what it is, then it pays to have a refresher.

Here is everything you need to know about cross-contamination.

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What Is Cross-Contamination?

    Consider scenarios where you:

    • Slice chicken and then use the same knife (without washing it) to cut vegetables.

    • Touch a contaminated surface and then start to prep food without washing your hands first.

    • Mix leftover food with a new batch.

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Inadvertently transfer

    As you may have realized from the scenarios to the left, you can accidentally transfer viruses, bacteria, germs, or other contaminants to food despite your best efforts to avoid the same. This is known as cross-contamination. In most cases, it happens inadvertently due to the unhygienic handling of food.

What Causes Cross-Contamination?

There are three main classifications of cross-contamination. The causes vary based on these classifications.


1. Food-to-Food

Naturally, all foods contain microorganisms, which must be killed to prevent causing foodborne diseases. However, these microorganisms can be transferred from one food item to another before processing. Here are a few instances when food-to-food contamination occurs:


2. Equipment-to-Food

Poor sanitization is the main culprit here. Yes, utensils and other food equipment can be contaminated no matter how properly you store them. Equipment-to-food contamination may occur when:


3. People-to-Food

Pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus naturally live on humans; hence, they can easily be transferred to anything you touch. Specifically, people-to-food contamination can occur in these instances:


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Prevent Cross-Contamination - When handling food deliveries

Important things to consider when it comes to food deliveries:

Storing food

Prevent Cross-Contamination - When storing chilled food

How you store chilled food is critical in preventing cross-contamination.

All food in refrigerated storage should be well covered to protect them from contamination from the shelves and objects above them. Try to keep stored containers separated, with a reasonable space between them, to prevent unnecessary contact and keep a steady flow of cool air around them.

Preparing food

Prevent cross contamination - When Preparing Food

Consider this when preparing food:

Cutting boards: Ensure your cutting boards are clean and well-sanitized before and after use. Use different cutting boards for raw food and fresh produce.

Marinating food: One mistake that many people make is marinating food on countertops or other work surfaces. While the food is marinating it should be placed in the refrigerator.

Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables can carry and transfer bacteria, resulting in cross-contamination. Rinse them well before cooking.

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Prevent Cross-Contamination - When Serving Food

Three things to consider:

What Are the Side Effects of Cross-Contamination?

Eating contaminated food may result in various side effects ranging from mild to severe.

Mild side effects may include:

On the other hand, severe side effects include:


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Do You Need Help To Secure Your Sanitization Process?

As you can see, cross-contamination can result in severe side effects and be fatal in the worst-case scenario. Hence, a well-thought-out HACCP routine and plan for the kitchen, recurring training for your staff, as well as reliable partners.

Safe wash results
Since we started in the late '80s, the zeal to provide sanitized and clean wash ware to our customers has been our core mission. We boast a wealth of knowledge about safe washing results, which we've gathered over the years, courtesy of meeting millions of customers in the commercial kitchen industry worldwide. We'd love to share our knowledge and learnings with you.

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