One of the most important ways to keep food safe is to avoid cross-contamination.
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Cross-contamination occurs when cooked or ready-to-eat foods pick up bacteria from other foods, hands, cutting boards, knives, or other utensils. To avoid cross-contamination, it is especially important to keep raw meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and shellfish and their juices away from other foods. Follow these guidelines.
When shopping, keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish separate from other foods in your grocery cart.
Once home, store raw meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish in sealed containers or plastic bags so that the juices don't drip onto other foods. Large turkeys and roasts should be placed on a tray or pan that is large enough to catch any juices that may leak.
Purchase two cutting boards, if possible, that are distinctly different from one another. Designate one for raw meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish and the other for ready-to-eat foods, such as breads and vegetables.
Place cooked foods on a clean plate, never on an unwashed plate that was used to hold raw meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish.
It is not necessary to wash raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or veal before cooking. Doing so poses a risk of cross-contamination with other foods and utensils in the kitchen. Any bacteria that might be present are destroyed with proper cooking.