Preventing cross contamination in Food Safety

September 10, 2021
Cedric Seguela

Preventing cross contamination in Food Safety is absolutely critical, here is a step by step process to achieve great results.

Premises and workflow

Regulations applies to all establishments, including delivery vehicles, market vendors, and any other mobile food transport.

By law food premises must be registered with their local authority within 28 days before opening. When designing a food establishment, the following must be considered.

All floors must be non-slip.

Surface materials must be durable, smooth heat resistant, non-absorbent, and easy to clean. A

ll worktops and equipment must be non-toxic non-rusting and resistant to cracking and chipping.

Walls and ceilings must be grease resistant and have no cracks.

All wood must be sealed and in good repair. All floor edges should prevent the infestation of pests and be easy cleaning.

The food premises must ensure it has adequate lighting and ventilation.

They must have flushable toilets and adequate hand washing facilities with hot and cold running water with soap and drying facilities, which are separate from food preparation sinks.

Provide safe removal of rubbish to prevent infestation of pests. Ensure there is adequate protection on air vents, windows, and doors.

And finally, to reduce the risk of cross-contamination workflow must be designed so that people do not double back and pass through clean food preparation areas.

Color Coding of Equipment – Essential to prevent cross contamination.


To prevent cross-contamination the equipment used in food production must be easy to clean, made of suitable material and in good working order.

It is ideal to help remind staff that equipment is color-coded to keep the preparation of raw and cooked food separate and to use correct equipment in each area of their work.

Large items of equipment should be well-maintained, easily accessible and movable to allow for cleaning to prevent physical contamination.

Although color-coding is not a legal requirement, it is certainly considered good practice.

It is possible to purchase equipment in color-coded form for most catering suppliers. If color-coded products are to be used, the color separation must be strictly adhered to.

  • Red for raw meat
  • Yellow for cooked meat
  • Blue for raw fish and seafood
  • White for dairy products and bakery
  • Green for fruit and salad.
  • And brown for vegetables
Color coded cutting boards infographics

Color coded cutting boards infographics

Cleaning Products.

The objective of cleaning is to remove suitable conditions for the growth of bacteria, reduce bacteria to a safe level, prevent conditions that will attract pests, enable the production of clean, safe food, provide a safe, healthy working environment free from hazards, improve the overall image to customers and comply with legal and moral obligations to keep food safe. It is considered good practice to clean as you go. This prevents a buildup of dirt and debris where bacteria can multiply.

Cleaning Chemicals.

Always store chemicals away from food and food areas.

Keep chemicals in proper labeled containers to make sure instructions and content are clear. Detergents: detergents, for example washing up liquid, will break down and remove grease and dirt. They will not kill bacteria. Sanitizers are a combined detergent and disinfectant, which will clean and disinfect providing that it is left on for the specified contact time.

It’s important you must always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Disinfectants are used to reduce bacteria to a safe level.

This can be achieved by using very hot water, 82 degrees or higher. S

team and chemical disinfectants: they will reduce bacteria to a safe level if diluted correctly and are left on for the correct contact time before rinsing off and wiping off with paper towels.

Disinfectants will not break down grease and dirt. Therefore items should be washed before being disinfected.

It is important to draw up and complete cleaning schedules which we’ll cover later on in Cleaning Management Systems.

Safe use of cleaning chemicals.

  • Put food away or cover before cleaning.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety procedures at all times.
  • If protective clothing is recommended, then it must be provided and worn.
  • Never mix cleaning chemicals.
  • Mixing chemicals may cause toxic fumes, explosions or burns.
  • Always work from the cleaner areas to the dirtier areas to prevent spreading dirt.

Let’s take a look at the areas that require particular attention in food premises.

They are contamination hazards such as cloths, mops, cleaning equipment and bins, which by their nature will be contaminated with bacteria; food contact surfaces, any item or surface that will directly come into contact with food.

And hand contact surfaces, any item that you will touch with your hands.

These will collect dirt and bacteria that you may pass on to food.

Wet cleaning and disinfecting

It is important to protect or put food away before cleaning. Step by step cleaning process for preventing cross contamination in Food Safety:

Step one, pre-clean. That’s scrape plates, boards, pans, et cetera.

Step two, wash in hot water wearing rubber gloves with detergent or sanitizer using a scourer or cloth.

Step three, rinse using clean hot water to remove detergent and food particles.

Step four, disinfect with a chemical disinfectant using the correct contact time.

Step five, final rinse with hot water.

If using a sanitizer, then omit stages three and four, but remember that the correct contact time is essential.

Step six, dry. Air dry or use disposable paper cloths. Tea towels will harbor bacteria, so they should be avoided if possible.

If a tea towel is used, it must be clean, dry, and changed after each session.

So to recap, one, pre-clean, two, wash, three, rinse, four, disinfect, five, final rinse, and six, dry.

Always store cleaning chemicals and cleaning equipment away from food and food areas.

Mops should be cleaned, disinfected and allowed to air dry after use. Cloths.

To avoid the spread of bacteria, use disposable, single-use cloths wherever practical.

Hotwash, disinfect and air dry reusable cloth after each task.

Wipe ready-to-eat food surfaces and equipment with single-use or clean disinfected cloths.

Extra care should be taken in ready-to-eat food preparation areas as this food is eaten without further cooking and therefore any bacteria on the food will be eaten.

If you’re not sure whether a cloth is clean or not, don’t use it.

What to clean and disinfect - Infographic

Rubbish disposal.

It is important that waste is controlled and dealt with effectively. This will help to Preventing cross contamination in Food Safety.

Waste and packaging will attract pests, provide conditions for bacterial growth, and may contaminate clean food.

External bins should ideally be fitted with a suitable lid, easy to clean and disinfect, pest proof, collected regularly, and located away from food delivery and food-handling areas.

Internal bins should ideally be situated to avoid contaminating clean food, fitted with a suitable lid, moveable and allow thorough cleaning, lined with a bin liner, emptied regularly, kept away from doors and windows to avoid attracting flies and other pests, regularly cleaned and disinfected, including the areas around them, and foot pedal operated to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.


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