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Cross contamination is one of the leading causes of food poisoning. It occurs when food comes in contact with germs transferred from another source. These germs are allowed to multiply and can cause illness. An example of this is when you use the same knife that you cut your chicken with on a head of lettuce. The lettuce (now salad) is placed back in the refrigerator where the germs start to breed.
To prevent cross contamination, cleanliness is essential. Here are some ways to protect yourself:
*Make sure all prep surfaces and utensils are clean and sanitized before and after use.
*Use a different utensil when working on different foods, the same goes for cutting boards.
*Wash hands with hot soapy water before, during, and after handling different foods.
*Use paper towels rather than sponges to clean surfaces. Sponges hold and spread germs.
*To sanitize surfaces, use an antibacterial cleaner (follow label instructions, should sit on surface for 10-15 minutes) or an effective yet economical alternative is to mix 1 teaspoon of bleach with 1 quart of water and let sit on the surface for a few minutes.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|