Preventing cross-contamination

Chef slicing veggies

Cross-contamination in the commercial kitchen involves the transfer of harmful microorganisms from one surface or substance to another. Cross-contamination can adversely affect any commercial kitchen, so it is important to take steps to avoid it: make sure to store and prepare foods separately, maintain proper personal hygiene, and correctly clean and sanitize kitchen equipment and supplies. Implementing these behaviors ensures a safer and more sanitary restaurant environment.

Store and prepare foods separately

Storing foods

  • Store and refrigerate raw foods separately from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Keep raw meats in well-sealed containers.
  • Store raw foods on shelves below ready-to-eat foods to minimize contamination.

Preparing foods

  • 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. 

Maintain proper personal hygiene

Wash hands properly

  • Ensure that hands are washed properly before touching food in any way.
  • Wash hands before and after handling raw foods.

Look after personal hygiene

  • Keep clothes, hair and other personal items away from food preparation areas.
  • Take extra care when coping with personal illness, i.e., sneezing and coughing.

Clean and sanitize

Clean between jobs

  • Use hot, soapy water to clean all supplies, equipment, utensils, and surface.
  • Avoid using the same dish or utensil to handle both raw and cooked foods.

Sanitize properly

  • Sanitization provides an extra defense against the transfer of germs and allergens.
  • Mix 1 capful of unscented bleach per one gallon of water to create a sanitizing agent for most all supplies, equipment, utensils and surfaces. 


  • Cross-contamination involves the transfer of harmful microorganisms.
  • Minimize the spread of germs by storing and preparing foods properly.
  • Good personal hygiene is important.
  • Prevent the transfer of germs and allergens by thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing.
Chef slicing veggies
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