Be smart: Keep foods apart
Cross-contamination is the transfer of harmful bacteria to food from other foods, cutting boards, utensils, etc. when they are not handled properly.
Cutting raw meat, poultry or fish on a cutting board and then slicing salad vegetables on the same cutting board - without first washing the board - is an example of how food can be exposed to bacteria through cross-contamination. This spreads bacteria, such as Salmonella, which are destroyed as raw meat cooks, to the salad vegetables - which won't be cooked. Cross-contamination happens in the kitchen more than one might think.
The results of a consumer survey by the federal government in 1998 showed 21 percent of cooks who fix the family's main meal did not wash their cutting boards after cutting raw meat. One-fourth did not wash their hands after handling raw meat and fish and two-thirds didn't wash their hands after handling raw eggs. Further, 61 percent of those who used a cloth or sponge to wipe kitchen counters changed them less than seven times per week. If cloths or sponges are used, they need to be changed frequently and washed in the hot cycle of your washing machine.