Fact Sheet 4: Cross Contamination
What is cross contamination?
Cross contamination occurs when bacteria and viruses are transferred from a contaminated surface to one which is not contaminated.
The bacteria and viruses can come from people, work surfaces or equipment, and other foods.
Important Points to Prevent Cross Contamination
- Keep raw meat and vegetables away from cooked food.
- Keep cooked food above raw food in the refrigerator.
- Do not handle cooked food with utensils that have been used on raw food.
- Wash your hands before using gloves, never re-use gloves.
- After preparing raw food, thoroughly clean and sanitize all surfaces, especially cutting boards.
- Keep food covered to protect from dust, flies, dirt and other sources of contamination.
- Use only food grade containers for holding food.
- Do not re-use containers, wrap, boxes or cans designed for single use only. i.e. ice-cream containers
- Do not use damaged or dirty utensils or equipment, i.e. cracked or chipped bowls or plates.
- Wash hands before handling food.
- Wash hands when changing duties.
- Use clean dishcloths and tea-towels
Single use items – not to be reused
The Food Standards Code specifically prohibits the reuse of single use items in contact with food. Single use items are generally defined as those where the manufacturer of the item intends for it to be only used once in connection with food handling (e.g. plastic takeaway containers).
Single use items include:
Disposable cutlery, plates, mugs, straws, cups and bowls.
Sachets: sugar, spreads, Jam, tomato sauce, coffee and tea.
Face wipes and serviettes
Protect single use items from damage
Sugars and jams are actually eaten. These items need to be kept in a safe environment which protects from damage and contamination. They need to be checked on delivery for damage or contamination, stored in the appropriate place to maintain this condition and managed when placed out for customer use.
When placing out for customer use, small quantities need to be placed out at a time. Staff need to be allocated the task of checking single-use supply items are kept in the public area in an appropriate area in an appropriate manner.
Do not reuse items intended for single use
Single use items are designed to be used ONCE. After use they need to be disposed of. Some people get tempted to return sugar sachets from a customer's tray if they have not been used. This is incorrect. Once a single use item has been handled by a customer, it is considered used. Something may have been spilt on it, but is not visible therefore you cannot be sure of the safety of the item.
- opened sugar and jam condiment sachets.
- Straws or spoons which have plastic or paper containers that are opened or torn
- the item has split food or drink