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Food Safety for Home Cooks

Separate, Don’t Cross Contaminate

Cross-contamination is the transfer of harmful germs or viruses to food from other foods, cutting boards, utensils, surfaces, or hands. To prevent cross contamination:

  • Always wash your hands before handling food and after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs, using the toilet, smoking, eating, drinking, coughing and sneezing. Keep yourself clean by daily bathing and cleaning your fingernails.
  • Wash all utensils and surfaces before starting to work and wash as many times as you need to while you prepare food.
  • After cutting raw meat, wash the cutting board and prep surface area with warm soapy water and rinse with clean water before cutting vegetables or ready-to-eat foods on the same surface.
  • Do not use the same knife to cut raw meats or poultry and then to cut other foods. Wash knives and other utensils before cutting different foods.
  • Make sure that clean items do not touch dirty or contaminated ones.
  • Bacteria can get back onto food after cooking, so do not place cooked food back onto the same plate that was used to carry raw food to a grill or oven.