Kitchen tips: How to handle raw meat and prevent cross-contamination
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) says that it is not necessary to wash raw meat unless there is foreign matter on the meat. It is also not necessary to rinse raw meat with salt and running water, or soak raw meat in salt water. However, the AVA adds that if consumers prefer to wash raw meat, they should take care not to contaminate other foods (for example, ready-to-eat foods) and work surfaces in the kitchen.
Raw meat and seafood may contain bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter, which can cause food-borne illnesses like food poisoning, if the food is not handled or cooked properly. These illnesses can also spread through through cross-contamination. For example, washing raw chicken can spread bacteria onto one’s hands, work surfaces, clothing and kitchen equipment, and may contaminate other food. To kill off any bacterial contamination, food should be cooked thoroughly.
Always clean your hands thoroughly with an anti-bacteria wash before handling raw meat. When you are done, wash your hands again thoroughly before moving on to other food preparation.
2. Separate raw meat
Do not mix raw food with cooked food. This could cause cross-contamination, so always separate raw meat from the rest of your ingredients.
3. Store raw meat properly
Store raw meat, poultry and seafood in lightly wrapped plastic and place them on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent the meat juices from dripping onto other food.
4. Use a dedicated cutting board for raw meat
Have separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked food. It's best if you can get a dedicated cutting board just for raw meats, but if you only have one cutting board, always wash it thoroughly with soap and hot water in between using it for raw and cooked food.
5. Wash your cutting knives thoroughly
After cutting raw meat, seafood and poultry, wash the knives thoroughly with soap and hot water before cutting other food.