Thursday, September 25, 2008

Am taking the BBC MasterChef course online – which is extremely interesting –and thought I would post this info which may be helpful to some who don’t know much about food hygiene. We have a cutting board for vegetables only and meat only, which are not to be confused or else the kiwi warden reprimands us! (and it's really bad for food hygiene)

If you want to try the course yourself visit this link and see if you have what it takes to be a master chef.

The clever people at the BBC and from various UK food agencies have created it and at the end of it you also get a certificate to hang on the fridge!

Cross-contamination of food

Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria spread between food, surfaces or equipment. It's most likely to happen when:

-Raw food touches (or drips onto) any ready-to-eat foods.
-Raw food touches (or drips onto) equipment or surfaces.
-People touch raw food with their hands then touch ready-to-eat food.

So, if raw meat drips onto a cake in the fridge, bacteria will spread from the meat to the cake. The whole cake could be contaminated with harmful bacteria, so it would not suffice to cut off the piece of cake that can be seen to be contaminated: the whole cake would need to be thrown away.

If you cut raw meat on a chopping board, bacteria will spread from the raw meat to the board and knife. If you then use the same board and knife (without washing them thoroughly) to chop a cucumber, the bacteria will spread from the board and knife to the cucumber.

Hands can also spread bacteria. If you touch raw food and don't wash your hands thoroughly, you can spread bacteria to other things you touch.

By avoiding cross-contamination, you can stop bacteria spreading.

What you need to do:
Separate raw and ready-to-eat foods. Raw meat contains harmful bacteria that can spread very easily to anything it touches, including other food, worktops, chopping boards and knives.
It's especially important to keep raw meat away from ready-to-eat foods. Salad, fruit and bread are not necessarily cooked before they're eaten, so any bacteria that get onto the foods won't be killed by the heat. Raw meat should be kept away from cooked meat because cooked meat can be eaten cold: any bacteria present would still exist in the cold cooked meat.

To help stop bacteria from spreading, remember these things:

-Don't let raw meat touch other foods.
-Never prepare ready-to-eat food using a chopping board or knife that you have used to prepare raw meat, unless they've been washed thoroughly first.
-Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat and before you touch anything else.
-Always cover raw meat and store it on the bottom shelf of the fridge where it can't touch or drip onto other foods.
-Clean surfaces and equipment thoroughly before you start to prepare food and after they've been used with raw food.

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