Cross-contamination is when bacteria are spread between food, surfaces or equipment. It is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Minimise risks and follow our ten top tips.
1. Clean and disinfect work surfaces, chopping boards and equipment thoroughly before you start preparing food, and after you have used them to prepare raw food.
2. Use different equipment (including chopping boards and knives) for raw meat/poultry and ready-to-eat food unless they can be heat disinfected in a commercial dishwasher.
3. Wash your hands before preparing food.
4. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw food.
5. Keep raw and ready-to-eat food separate from one another at all times, including packaging material for ready-to-eat food.
6. Store raw food below ready-to-eat food in the fridge. If possible, use separate fridges for raw and ready-to-eat food.
7. Provide separate working areas, storage facilities, clothing and staff for the handling of ready-to-eat food.
8. Use separate machinery and equipment, such as vacuum packing machines, slicers and mincers, for raw and ready-to-eat food.
9. Separate cleaning materials, including cloths, sponges and mops, should be used in areas where ready-to-eat foods are stored, handled and prepared.
10. Train your staff so they understand how to avoid cross-contamination.
For more advice see food hygiene – an overview.