Sometimes Meat and Potatoes Just Don’t Play Well Together

By: Franciscan Health Last Updated: March 4, 2012

Fransican-CrosscontaminationSubmitted by Lori Granich, RD, Clinical Dietitian at the Midwest Bariatric Institute

There are thousands of bacteria naturally present in our environment. Not all bacteria are harmful; in fact, some are used beneficially in foods such as yogurt.

Pathogenic microorganisms are the viruses and bacteria that can make you and your family sick. Cross contamination is the transfer of pathogenic microorganisms from one surface to another. This occurs when juices from uncooked foods come in contact with cooked foods or raw fruits and vegetables.


It is estimated that each year about 1 in 6 Americans get sick from a foodborne illness and 128,000 are hospitalized. Prevent cross contamination in your home.

Tips for Preventing Cross Contamination

  1. Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods in your grocery cart. This can prevent any raw juices from dripping onto other foods and contaminating them.
  2. Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood below all other foods in your refrigerator to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods.
  3. After preparing food, make sure to wash, hands, kitchen surfaces, and utensils with hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Use a separate cutting board for cutting raw meat, poultry, and seafood. If this is not possible, make sure to wash with hot soapy water all surfaces that come in contact with the raw food before moving onto preparing any other food item.
  5. Never use marinade that held raw food for marinating cooked foods. Have a separate container of marinade for using on cooked foods.
  6. When grilling, always use a new plate for serving the cooked food. Never reuse the plate that held the raw food unless it has been washed in hot soapy water.

For more information on food preparation and food poisoning, visit our online Total Health resources.