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Cross-Contamination

Keep Raw Meats and Ready-to-Eat Foods Separate
Clean cutting boards:
When juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects accidentally touch cooked or ready-to-eat foods (such as fruits or salads), cross-contamination occurs. If not cleaned correctly, the board harbors harmful bacteria. Follow these guidelines:

  • Use multiple cutting boards: one strictly to cut meat, poultry and seafood; the other for ready-to-eat foods like breads and vegetables.
  • Wash boards thoroughly in hot, soapy water after each use.
  • Discard cutting boards that have cracks and excessive knife scars.

Prevent cross-contamination:

  • Wash plates between uses or use separate plates: one for holding raw meats, another for cooked foods.
  • Store meats, poultry and seafood on the bottom of the refrigerator so juices don’t drip into other foods.
  • Place washed produce into clean storage containers, not back into the original ones.
  • Use one utensil to taste and another to stir or mix food.
  • Use clean scissors or blades to open bags of food.
  • Wear plastic or vinyl gloves if you have a sore or cut on your hand.
  • Wash dishcloths and towels often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
  • Use a chlorine bleach solution to clean surfaces that have come in contact  with raw meat or poultry.

Refrigerate Promptly Below 40 F

  • Refrigerate foods quickly and at a proper temperature to slow the growth of bacteria and prevent foodborne illness.
  • Refrigerate leftover foods after two hours. In hot weather (90 F or above), refrigerate leftover foods after one hour.
  • Set your refrigerator below 40 F to keep perishable foods out of the danger zone (41 F to 140 F). Keep a refrigerator thermometer inside your refrigerator at all times.

Wash Hands Often
Proper hand washing may eliminate nearly half of all cases of foodborne illness and significantly reduce the spread of the common cold and flu.

  • Wash hands in warm, soapy water before preparing foods and after handling raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  • Wash for about 20 seconds, which is approximately the time it takes to sing two choruses of “Happy Birthday.”
  • Wash front and back of hands and up to your wrists, between fingers, fingertips and under fingernails with a nailbrush.
  • Wash after switching tasks (such as handling raw meat and then cutting vegetables).
  • Dry hands with disposable paper towels, clean cloth towels or air dry.

Quick and Easy Sanitizing Solution
Using a fresh sanitizing solution for kitchen utensils, cutting boards, grills, countertops and sinks is a good food safety practice. Here’s a simple and economical solution that really works and holds its strength all day.

  • Mix 3/4 – 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach with 1 quart of water.
  • Use solution in a spray bottle.
  • Spray and let stand for a minute.
  • Rinse and dry with a paper towel.

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