What is cross contact?
This is when foods touch and their proteins mix. You don’t need to see it, but each food now contains a small amount of the other food. Food is unsafe if you are allergic to that food.
I thought it was cross contamination?
Different. This is about food safety and having bacteria or viruses on food. Cooking food is one way we reduce cross contamination. Food is unsafe for all if there is cross contamination.
Tips to prevent cross contact
- Always wash utensils, cutting boards and pans with soap and water
- Cook the allergy-safe food first before other foods
- Keep safe foods covered and away from other foods.
- Don’t share food, drinks, utensils.
- Clean counters and tale with soap and water after making meals.
- Have different utensils and cutting boards for different foods.
- Use soap and water or all purpose cleaner, not hand sanitizer.
What to do if you think you have cross contact?
- Start over. There is no way to reverse cross contact. Even a small amount can make food unsafe.
Cross contact can be direct or indirect
Direct= allergen was directly applied then removed
- Peeling cheese off a cheeseburger to make it a hamburger
- Using a knife to cut a cheeseburger and then a hamburger
Indirect= allergen was not directly applied but their proteins touched
This is less obvious so be careful. Examples are:
- Not washing hands with soap after putting cheese on one burger and handling the other burgers
- Using the same spatula to flip a cheeseburger and a hamburger
What about cross contact outside of my home?
We cover more on cross contact at restaurants and while you are out and about next week.