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Food Safety: avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen

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You’re in the kitchen after a long day of work. You’re cooking up a storm, trying to get dinner ready before the new episode of The Big Bang Theory comes on – all while trying not to pick on everything in sight so you can actually eat the meal that you are preparing. As a result, your kitchen looks like you have just completed the entrée round on Chopped, as you cook your chicken, steam your broccoli, boil your potatoes and (simultaneously) chop a salad. Don’t worry though; you aren’t alone. This is what the usual dinnertime rush looks like in many kitchens across the country.

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However, what you might not know is that this kitchen chaos is not the norm in professional kitchens. Yes, I know what you are thinking: “Of course it’s not the same – duh!” What I am referring to is cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is defined as the “transfer of harmful bacteria to food from other foods, cutting boards, utensils etc., if they are not handled properly.” Believe it or not, cross-contamination is a hazard to be cognizant of from the moment you start shopping for groceries up until the moment you serve your meal.

Preventing cross-contamination means that you will be preventing your exposure to foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter.

Together, we have compiled a list with Star Career Academy Chef Lenny Messina on how you can avoid cross-contamination both in the grocery store and in your kitchen.

Chef Lenny Messina has been teaching at Star Career Academy for the past 12 years. He has over 30 years of experience as a Certified Pastry Chef, and has recently been awarded the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) President’s Medallion. Only about 60 chefs nationwide have ever received this honor. If cooking as a professional like Chef Lenny Messina interests you, you might want to consider attending one of the Culinary Programs at Star Career Academy, where you will not only learn the essentials for cooking in a professional kitchen, but tips such as those listed above to maintain a healthy, bacteria-free kitchen.

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