What is Cross Contamination?
Cross contamination is the transfer of bacteria from one food to another. This can be very dangerous, especially when bacteria from a raw meat is transferred to another food. When a food gets contaminated, consumption can cause food poisoning. A common way that cross contamination occurs is when a knife and cutting board are used to cut raw meat, but then the same knife and cutting board, without cleaning and sanitation, are used to cut a food that will be served without further cooking.
To keep cross contamination from happening, it is best to clean and sanitize everything after use. This includes silverware, cookware, food prep or cooking surfaces, and anything else that comes in contact with food. It is also important to wash your hands before and after cooking, and also after touching raw meat or other contaminating foods.
If cross contamination occurs and the contaminated food is consumed, it can lead to food poisoning which can cause cramps, headaches, nausea, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and in some cases, death.
- How important is preventing cross contamination? Preventing cross contamination is very important. I make sure that I take all of the proper steps to keep my kitchen clean and safe.
- What are some precautions you use to prevent cross contamination? I make sure that my hands are always clean and that I change my gloves often, especially after touching raw meat. I also make sure that everything in my kitchen is clean all of the time. I am constantly wiping down counters and doing dishes, just to make sure everything is sanitized.
- What is the worst thing that you have ever seen happen because cross contamination occurred? I don't really have any personal stories, but I have heard of a woman who was in the hospital for just over 3 weeks. She was apparently vomiting all of the time, and couldn't keep any food down for more than five minutes. She had to be fed nutrients through an IV.
- What are some things you would do if, some how, you accidentally cross contaminated something, and a customer got food poisoning? I would apologize greatly and take full responsibility. I would also make sure that I do everything in my power to help out the customer and try my hardest to figure out what went wrong, so that it doesn't happen again.
- How do you know that nothing has been cross contaminated in your kitchen, with so many people working in it? I can never truly know for sure, but when in training, cross contamination is highly stressed. It is such an easy thing to do and there is no way to undo do it, and most times, there is no way to tell a difference in cross contaminated food. Even though I can never know for sure if the food is safe, I trust the cooks here enough to believe they haven't cross contaminated anything.
- "Food." Clay County Public Health Center. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <http://www.clayhealth.com/Module/Ext/ExtInfo.aspx?ModulePageAdmin=12f362b07a3c-46b5-9f35-18f0cb1ca900&&ModulePageVisitor=6e11a257-21c4-463b-9374-ddfb8f70cd5c>
- "How to Avoid Kitchen Cross Contamination." About.com Food. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/glossary/g/Cross-Contamination.htm>.
- "Be Smart. Keep Foods Apart." FSIS. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/be-smart-keep-foods-apart/ct_index>.
- "How To Prevent Cross-contamination." Www.eatright.org. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/four-steps/separate/cross-contamination>.