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A picture of  two cutting boards being used. One for cutting raw meat and the other for vegetables.

What is Cross-Contamination?

Cross-contamination occurs when harmful microorganisms (germs) spread to food. 

How does cross-contamination happen? 

Cross-contamination happens in three ways: 

1. Food-to-Food

When raw meat or its juices comes in contact with ready-to-eat foods (i.e. deli meats, cheese, washed fruit, salad, cooked food).

2. Equipment-to-Food

When the same equipment is used with raw meat and ready-to-eat food without being cleaned and sanitized.

3. People-to-Food

When people touch raw meat and do not wash their hands before touching ready-to-eat food.

How can you prevent cross-contamination?

  • Be sure to refrigerate right.
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
  • Always wash and sanitize all cooking and preparation (i.e. cutting boards, knives, slicer equipment) after each use.
  • Wash your hands before and after preparing food.