cross contamination

Merry Kitchen - Safety Checkpoints to Ensure a Happy Holiday- Part 2

Safety Checkpoint #3

Work cautiously with meat by using separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish products and an instant read thermometer.

Cross contamination can occur if uncooked meat, poultry, and fish are placed on the same cutting boards as produce and cooked foods.  To prevent cross contamination, designate different cutting boards for uncooked meats, produce, and cooked foods.  I recommend using plastic cutting boards because cutting boards made of wood can harbor bactoria in the pores of the wood.  One effective way to prevent illness when cooking with meat/poultry/fish is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the dish. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are listed below:

  • Beef, Veal, Lamb, and Fish -  145°F
  • Pork and Ground Beef - 160°F
  • Poultry -165°F..

Safety Checkpoint #4

Avoid unpasteurized (“raw”) milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep or goats that has not been pasteurized.  If a product has been pasteurized, it has been heated to an extremely high temperature for a specific length of time in order to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. Harmful bacteria that may be present include salmonella, E. coli and listeria. Pregnant women, children, and the elderly populations are the most at risk due to a weaker immune system.  Some cheese are not pasteurized, but are considered safe because they are aged 60 days or more and are placed in a salty and acidity environment during the cheese making process which makes it difficult for pathogens to grow or survive.