Cross-contamination can reek havoc on a commercial kitchen. In fact, depending on the extent of contamination, it can shut your entire operation down. But don’t fear. There are things you can do to prevent those little microscopic bacteria from stealing your thunder, and subsequently, your profits. Simply make sure that you and your staff follow these cross-contamination preventing tips.
Store Foods Separately
- Store and refrigerate raw foods separately from ready-to-eat foods.
- Keep raw meats in well-sealed containers on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.
- Store raw foods on shelves below ready-to-eat foods to minimize contamination from accidental drips or other contact.
Prepare Foods Separately
- Prepare foods on clean, separate surfaces to minimize the spread of germs.
- Utilize clean cutting boards as safe surfaces for preparing foods.
- If possible, designate individual cutting boards for different types of foods. This can be done easily with color-coded cutting boards.
Implement Proper Hand Washing Procedures
- All staff members should properly wash hands, which means washing both hands and forearms with hand soap for two minutes. Use a scrub brush to clean under the nails and don’t forget to wash between the fingers. Dry hands with a disposable paper towel.
- Take the time to wash hands between tasks.
- Give special attention to washing hands before and after handling raw foods as these are particularly potent carriers of bacteria.
Make Personal Hygiene a Priority
- Keep clothes, hair, and other personal items away from all food preparation areas. Wear head coverings and gloves. Keep facial hair clean and well-groomed.
- Take extra care when coping with personal illness. If a staff member is even remotely sick, send them home immediately. Sneezing and coughing can easily spread germs to food and get other staff members sick.
Clean as You Go
- Clean between tasks
- Use hot, soapy water to clean all supplies, equipment, utensils, and surfaces between food preparation tasks.
- Avoid using the same dish or utensil to handle raw and cooked foods. Use one utensil and dish for raw foods and one utensil and dish for cooked.
- Sanitizer provides an extra defense against the transfer of germs and allergens.
- Mix 1 cap-full of unscented bleach per one gallon of water to create a sanitizing agent for most supplies, equipment, utensils and surfaces.