In a nutshell: Cross-contamination is a major cause of food poisoning, involving the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to another. This is especially problematic for raw, ready-to-eat items without further heat treatment like salads or cold dishes. To prevent food cross-contamination, food handlers should maintain proper and hygienic practices.

Cross-contamination is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. It occurs when raw food contacts with cooked or ready-to-eat food, equipment or surfaces. It can also happen if the same equipment is used for raw and cooked or read-to-eat food. Hands can also spread germs if not properly washed after handling raw food. To prevent cross-contamination, adequately separating raw and cooked or read-to-eat food is important.

Proper hand and personal hygiene is essential for minimising cross-contamination of food. So please remember:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling food, especially raw food.
  • Gloves should be used properly and changed regularly.
  • Change into clean working clothes before handling food and practise good hygiene.
  • Do not use your mobile phone when handling food.
  • If feeling unwell, stop handling food and seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Revisit the "Personal hygiene" section to review the key points of personal hygiene. 

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