Lesson 2c - Preparing

Keep it straight ... Don't cross-contaminate!


Food can cause illness when conditions in the environment encourage bacterial growth.

  • Proper handwashing is the most important prevention step!
  • Don’t let juices from raw meat, poultry or seafood come in contact with cooked foods or foods that will be eaten raw, such as fruits or salad ingredients.
  • Wash hands, counters, equipment, utensils and cutting boards with soap and hot water immediately after use.
  • Thaw foods in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. Plan ahead!.
  • A microwave oven can be used to thaw food but food should be cooked immediately.
  • Wash and rinse cutting boards and knives between uses, especially after cutting raw meat. Wash with hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly with hot water. A spray disinfectant can be used to sanitize. Air dry items because dish towels can cross-contaminate other surfaces.
  • Do not use cutting boards with cracks and crevices, as these provide a place for bacteria to grow.
  • Keep pets off counters and tables and away from food preparation areas. Wash hands after touching your pets.
  • Either wash towels and dish clothes after each meal or use disposable, single-use towels. Sponges and clothes are vehicles for contamination of surfaces. Sponges harbor organisms which may be pathogenic. Therefore, only use sponges where they will not contaminate cleaned and sanitized food-contact surfaces, such as cleaning equipment and utensils before rinsing and sanitizing. Sponges can be placed on the top shelf of the dishwasher for cleaning.
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