Lesson 1b - How does food become hazardous?

Food becomes hazardous by contamination. Contamination is the unintended presence of harmful substances or microorganisms in food. Food can become contaminated from chemical, physical or biological sources.

  • Chemical hazards: Chemical hazards include substances such as cleaning solutions and sanitizers.
  • Physical hazards: Physical hazards are foreign particles, like glass or metal.
  • Biological hazards: Biological hazards come mainly from microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites.

What is Cross-contamination?


Cross-contamination is the transportation of harmful substances to food by:

  • Hands that touch raw foods, such as chicken, then touch food that will not be cooked, like salad ingredients.
  • Surfaces, like cutting boards or cleaning cloths, that touch raw foods, are not cleaned and sanitized, then touch ready-to-eat food.
  • Raw or contaminated foods that touch or drip fluids on cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
  • Utensils, such as knives, which cut raw foods, such as chicken, then cut ready-to-eat food such as Romaine lettuce.

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