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Food Safety Education

For a safe plate, don’t cross-contaminate.

An estimated 1 in 6 Americans get foodborne illness (food poisoning) every year, but you can help protect yourself and others from getting sick. Always follow four simple steps to prevent food poisoning: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat foods, like salads or food that is already cooked. These germs include CampylobacterSalmonellaClostridium perfringens, and E. coli. They can make people sick and even lead to hospitalization and death in serious cases. The key to avoiding cross-contamination is to keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from foods that won’t be cooked before you eat them (ready-to-eat foods) when grocery shopping and preparing food in the kitchen.

Steps to Avoid Cross-Contamination

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other food in shopping cart.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in the refrigerator.
  • Do not wash raw chicken or turkey.
  • Use one cutting board or plate for raw meat, poultry, and seafood and a separate cutting board or plate for produce, bread, and other foods that won’t be cooked (ready-to-eat foods).
    • If you only have one cutting board, cut produce, bread and other ready-to-eat foods first then wash cutting board with soap and hot water before cutting raw meat, poultry or seafood on it.
  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after touching raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
  • Wash your utensils, cutting boards, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
  • If you marinate raw meat, poultry, or seafood and want to reuse that marinade on the food after it is cooked, bring marinade to a boil first.
  • Keep cooked meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs on a separate plate from raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs.

Information obtained from Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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