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CHOPPING BOARDS AND CROSS CONTAMINATION

Cross contamination is very topical these days -  and rightly so considering how serious an issue it is.

When harmful bacteria is transferred from one food to another cross contamination has taken place. It can happen directly or via other means such as the hands or utensils - but also when chopping boards or cutting boards are being used.

Sources of food poisoning bacteria include poultry and raw meat, waste food, dust, animals and birds and humans.





Bacteria from the sources can be passed to high risk of food directly and indirectly - direct contamination takes place when the bacteria touches high-risk food, whereas indirect contamination occurs when the bacteria is transferred from the source to the high risk food through other things such as hands, cloths, worktops or chopping boards.

Cross contamination can take place when raw meat has been handled - especially poultry - because it contains more liquid than other types of meat. Therefore it is crucial to ensure that meats and their juices are kept away from food that has been cooked already or salads.

Food poisoning as a result of cross contamination is an extremely nasty

experience as anyone who has fallen victim to it will confirm - it normally lasts for 2-5 days and symptoms include headaches, fever and muscle pain which is usually followed by diarrhoea and abdominal pain.


What can you do to prevent cross contamination?


Keeping your chopping board clean and free of harmful bacteria is vital if you are to keep the risk of cross contamination to a minimum. A sanitising spray is a good option to keep a wooden chopping board clean since they are not dishwasher safe.

Some people recommend rubbing coarse salt into a wooden chopping board for cleaning purposes.

You should always wash your hands with hot water and soap before and after you handle raw meat.

You are also well advised to use one chopping board for fresh produce and another one cutting and chopping raw meat.

It’s important to keep raw foods and cooked foods separate and food should be covered at all times to rule out the risk of contamination from flies and insects.

Colour-coded chopping boards are now proving very popular and our great concept for reducing the risk of cross contamination and food poisoning.

You must also ensure you never put cooked food back onto a plate by chopping board that has had raw meat on it earlier.

Chopping boards and worktops can also be cleaned with a diluted solution of bleach in the fight against harmful bacteria. One teaspoonful of bleach should be used to 2 litres of water.



MORE READING

Cleaning and care of chopping boards


Advice on seasoning your chopping board


Wood versus plastic chopping boards