There’s nothing like a delicious, home cooked meal. But without safe food preparation, your four course meal could quickly turn into a health disaster. Check out these steps to prevent food cross contamination and keep your loved ones safe and well fed:
Step 1: Wash your hands and countertops
In order to prevent food cross contamination, it's important to wash your hands frequently as you cook. Your hands may feel clean, but after handling meats and other raw food, they could be holding and transferring dangerous bacteria. To keep your food safe, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap, then dry them with a clean paper towel or cloth.
Step 2: Clean the countertops
Before you start cooking, combat cross contamination by using a powerful cleaner and disinfectant on any food contact surfaces. Continue disinfecting while you cook, especially after handling raw meats.
Step 3: Sanitize the sink daily
In addition to your hands and countertops, the sink also needs to be disinfected in order to prevent food cross contamination. Sanitize your kitchen sink daily with warm water and dish detergent. Also, don't forget to wipe down the handles of cabinets, faucets, the fridge, and other appliances after handling meat, fish, poultry, veggies, fruits, or other raw ingredients.
Step 4: Get organized
By organizing your food and kitchen tools, you'll decrease the risk of cross contamination. Place spices in a cabinet, your tools in a kitchen caddy, and food in the pantry.
Step 5: Keep bags on the ground
It's tempting to throw your purse and grocery bags on the kitchen table or counter the second you walk in the door. Don't do it! Instead, help prevent the spread of nasty germs lurking on the bottom of your purse and bags by setting them on the floor.
Step 6: Keep raw meat, fish, and poultry separate
Separate raw meat, fish, and poultry from all other ingredients while preparing food. In addition, to prevent food cross contamination, designate one cutting board for meat, fish, and poultry, and one for fruits and vegetables. Plastic, dishwasher-safe cutting boards are best.
Step 7: Rinse all ingredients
Rinse off all ingredients as you prep them for cooking, including veggies and fruit. Once they're clean, put them in clean bowls or containers before starting to cook.
Step 8: Use separate dishtowels
To keep your food safe and prevent cross contamination, use separate dishtowels to wipe your counters and to dry your hands. Also, keep in mind that sponges become contaminated with bacteria more easily and can spread disease faster, so opt for a microfiber cleaning cloth instead.
More on preventing cross contamination
Before cooking produce, and after handling raw meats, follow these food safety suggestions to prevent cross contamination.