One of the easiest ways to keep you and your customers happy and healthy is to know about cross contamination. Cross contamination is when you touch one item that is not sanitary and then touch a clean item and make it unsanitary.

This can breed health issues as well as general concerns about safety, so you need to make it important at your restaurant. What you might not realize is that cross contamination doesn’t just happen at the back of the house.

Rather, you can have issues with contamination in the front as well. It all starts off with good employee practices, such as washing their hands. If the employee has touched food, their face, their hair, or anything questionable, they need to wash their hands. If they are pressed for time, antibacterial gel can work too.

Washing their hands consists of wetting the hands with warm, not lukewarm, placing a few drops of soap onto the palms and rubbing the hands together vigorously in order to create a substantial foam. The hands should be scrubbed on all sides, in between the fingers, and under the finger nails. When the entire hand has been washed, the employee should then rinse thoroughly and dry completely. The nest way to prevent cross contamination is to make sure that all employees are aware of the dangers that can contribute to health problems.

Raw meats, chicken, and seafood are the most often recognized due to problems with E. coli, salmonella, and other food poisoning issues, but there are other things that need to be considered as well. These items aren’t unsafe with proper handling, but there factors that should be considered.

Keeping these kinds of items at the proper temperature is crucial. Because bacteria can not grow at low temperatures, storing food items at their correct temperatures will keep most problems from occurring. But this does not mean that there aren’t proper ways of storing the items in general.

Uncooked meats should never be stored over anything that isn’t the same item. You need to make sure that meats are stored away from other prepared foods as well. Also, meats should be cooked to the proper internal temperature in order to be safe for consumption. But don’t forget about your other ingredients as well.

Properly washing any produce is the best way to prevent dirt and bacteria from becoming an issue in their preparation. While it might seem that the produce you are handling is clean and fresh, you’ll want to rinse everything and even use a produce cleaner if it’s indicated.

Keeping surfaces clean will also aid in preventing cross contamination. All cutting boards and other prep tables need to be cleaned thoroughly after each use and properly cleaned at the end of each shift. It’s best to let the boards dry completely at the end of the night as moisture can breed germ issues.

Cross contamination is hard to spot because it happens at a microscopic level, but with these tips in mind, you can lessen the chances of anyone becoming ill from the foods that you want to serve.