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How do I avoid cross contamination with food?

Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics
Cross contamination is how bacteria can be spread. When handling raw meat, poultry and eggs, keep these foods and their juices away from fruits, vegetables and other foods.
Deborah Beauvais
Nutrition & Dietetics
Use separate cutting boards and plates for produce and for meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.

Placing ready-to-eat food on a surface that held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs can spread bacteria and make you sick. But stopping cross-contamination is simple.

  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce, and one for raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • Use separate plates and utensils for cooked and raw foods.
  • Before using them again, thoroughly wash plates, utensils, and cutting boards that held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
  • Once a cutting board gets excessively worn or develops hard-to-clean grooves, consider replacing it.

Consider the possibility of cross contamination at the Grocery store. Make sure you aren’t contaminating foods in your grocery bag by:

Separating raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your shopping cart. At the checkout, place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in plastic bags to keep their juices from dripping on other foods. 

How you store your foods needs to be reviewed to avoid cross contamination. Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in the fridge.

Bacteria can spread inside your fridge if the juices of raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs drip onto ready-to-eat foods. But stopping this contamination is simple…place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in containers or sealed plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping or leaking onto other foods. If you’re not planning to use these foods within a few days, freeze them instead.

Keep eggs in their original carton and store them in the main compartment of the refrigerator—not in the door.

Visit www.homefoodsafety.com for more information and tips.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Keep juices from raw meat, poultry and seafood from coming into contact with produce and other foods. Pack raw meats and poultry separately in the grocery store. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and do not use them for anything else until they have been washed in soap and hot water. Don't transfer cooked meat back to a plate that once held raw meat.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.