National Food Safety Month – Be Safe, Don’t Cross-Contaminate
During this month, the National Restaurant Association works to heighten awareness around the importance of food safety education by providing free training activities and posters for the restaurant and foodservice industry.
This year’s theme? “Be Safe, Don’t Cross-Contaminate.”
So what exactly is cross-contamination?
Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria or allergens are transferred from one food source to another. This can occur through instantaneous direct contamination or indirectly through food handlers, equipment, or surfaces. Cross-contamination can spread foodborne illnesses from bacteria including E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, which are often seen as the most troubling occurrences.
With the high number of food recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks announced this summer, food safety has been a hot topic lately. And some of the most common sources of foodborne illness outbreaks occur because of cross-contamination.
That’s why it is vital that those within the industry understand the best ways to prevent cross-contamination. Here are three of the most effective tips:
- Ensure that all food handlers wash their hands thoroughly when working with several different foods.
- Store foods in separate storage or refrigerated areas to keep raw food completely separated from ready-to-eat food.
- Designate separate equipment, utensils and surfaces during food preparation to prevent raw foods from coming into contact with other unprepared foods indirectly.
While these best practices are great preventative measures for businesses to implement in an attempt to prevent contamination, such instances will still occur from time to time and may lead to product recalls. In these cases, when announcing a recall, it is essential for the company to have a recall plan in place that outlines exactly how to communicate with regulatory agencies, consumers, employees and the media.
Do you think your company takes the proper measures to help prevent cross-contamination? Will your company utilize the NRA’s food safety programs offered during NFSM? Please share your comments below.
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