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July Cartoon: Preventing Cross Contamination in the Fridge

Cartoon bacteria from raw meat dive into an uncovered green salad

You may have heard how cross-contamination can happen during food preparation. But did you know that it’s also a danger to food in storage?

How cross-contamination works

Cross contamination occurs when germs from one food item spread to another food item. This could happen directly, like if a piece of raw meat drips on or touches another food.

It can also happen indirectly, like if you use the same knife to cut raw meat as you do to chop lettuce, without washing the knife in between.

How to organize your refrigerator to prevent cross-contamination

You can help prevent food items from contaminating each other in the refrigerator by organizing your shelves by cooking temperature. Put foods with higher cooking temperatures, including raw animal products, at the bottom.

For example, if you need to store raw racks of ribs and a bowl of green salad, put the ribs below the salad. That way, if the meat drips, the juice won’t fall into and contaminate the salad.

You should also get into the habit of keeping food covered. Covering food will help protect it from cross-contamination.

Visit our article “Fridge Storage for Food Safety” for more information, or to download a food storage temperature chart.

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