21 Nov Sabatoging Salmonella – Six steps to roasting your turkey safely: #4- Clean and Separate – so you don’t cross-contaminate
Cross-contamination – is a scientific term which describes the transfer of bacteria from foods, hands, utensils or food preparation surfaces to a food we plan to eat. This is a particular problem with the liquids/juices from raw meat or poultry allowing nanobugslike salmonella to end up exactly where we don’t want them and we EAT them!
There are 2 major techniques to stop cross-contamination:
#1 – Separate raw meat /poultry from other foods in your shopping cart, in your bags you carry the items home from the grocery store, in the refrigerator, on the counter tops, cutting boards and other food preparation surfaces in the kitchen. Don’t put raw poultry on an upper shelf in the fridge where juices could drip onto fresh veggies or items that will be eaten raw. Use two different cutting boards – one for meat/poultry and another for raw fruits and veggies. Even then, wash with hot soapy water after each use. If you are grilling your turkey – don’t use the same platter (unwashed) you took the raw meat or poultry to the grill, to bring it back to the kitchen when it is done and ready to eat.
#2 – Clean everything that has been in contact with raw poultry and juices. That means your hands, utensils, sinks and surfaces in the kitchen. Be careful – you may spread the nanobugs around the kitchen with dish cloths and sponges. Wash and bleach dish cloths used for preparation and change them for the serving and kitchen clean-up. Rinse soap from sponges and microwave them to kill the nanobugs. Always wash your hands after handling raw fruits and veggies or using the toilet, changing the baby’s diaper, managing pets or touching something that may be contaminated. Don’t wash your hands in the kitchen sink if there is a turkey thawing or fresh veggies in the sink. Take it to another sink in the house and leave the nanobugs there.
The chief cook in your holiday kitchen (you) must set the rules of the kitchen and supervise and train any helpers. This is sometimes a bit touchy with forgetful great-grandmother who wants to help out in the kitchen but misses handwashing opportunities and paints the countertops with a contaminated dish cloth. Be cool – protect your family from foodborne illness and exercise some diplomacy with managing friends and family on kitchen duty.