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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 04-14-2010, 11:43 AM   #1
KnucklHed BBQ
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Default Cross Contamination Question

So I've taken a couple of servsafe classes (few years ago) and passed with 100% both times so I think I remember this correctly...

When addressing cross contamination, we're really only talking about NOT mixing raw meats & juices with other items that either will not be cooked or have already been cooked, right?

More to the point, say I'm cooking pork ribs, chicken and a chuckie. If I use the same knife and cutting board for all 3 meats without washing & rinsing between, there's no problem since they are all going to be cooked to a safe temp.

However, using the same cutting board, not having been washed, to cut up the cooked meat is plain wrong (not to mention gross since it's prolly been hours since used last).

Here's the problem, I've seen on a few occations around here different people make recomendations about "that chicken should be on the rack below the butt to avoid cross contamination... etc."

If both pieces of meat are to be fully cooked to temp before eaten, then where is the problem?

The only time I could see it being an issue is if the butt is minutes from being done and you toss a raw dripping chicken above it... but in all likelyhood, the chicken and butt are put on at different times so that they are finished at the same time, so again probably no problem with the butt coming off much sooner than the chicken has tempd out.

I guess what I'm getting at is that some folks seem to think that when you mix raw chicken juices with raw pork/beef/fish something magical happens and all of a sudden crazy germs & bacteria grow... where are people getting this idea??
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Unread 04-14-2010, 11:52 AM   #2
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I agree with you completely. Our HD likes to see color coded cutting boards for raw and cooked. I've tried the disposables for raw, and they seem to work pretty well and that takes care of the sanitation issue. It seems to me that if you had raw chicken juice hit a 200 degree butt, the problem will be solved in five minutes (probably less). Yes, it probably does look gross to some people who only understand part of the equation. I think it comes from folks knowing that raw chicken juices are potentially dangerous, but not really understanding how that danger gets taken care of.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 01:58 PM   #3
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I tend to agree to.
The only contamination I can think of is maybe flavour wise .
When you are stacking let's say chicken on top of your ribs the chicken drippings can spoil the flavour of your ribs.
But I do believe that in catering or restaurants it is mandatory by the health department to use different cuttingboards etc.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 03:10 PM   #4
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I see what you are saying but when I do that, I always cut in vertical storage order so as to reduce potential of danger. In other words. beef, pork then chicken. If I am prepping outside I take no chances and always wash between meats.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 03:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokey bandit View Post
But I do believe that in catering or restaurants it is mandatory by the health department to use different cuttingboards etc.
I understand the HD wanting to see or even requiring dif color boards for raw & cooked, there is less chance of an employee using a board that was used for raw meat and not sanitized properly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redheart View Post
I see what you are saying but when I do that, I always cut in vertical storage order so as to reduce potential of danger. In other words. beef, pork then chicken. If I am prepping outside I take no chances and always wash between meats.
Please explain for me, what chances would you be taking if you did not wash the board between meats?

In my mind, if the meat that you're prepping is in good condition and not spoiled or anything, what risk is there of the beef getting something funky from the chicken you just cut before it?

Thanks for the comments everyone!
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Unread 04-14-2010, 03:46 PM   #6
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The only thing I can think of is that it might help reduce the chances of a more general spread of contamination, since chicken has something like a 66% chance of being contaminated. Keeping the chicken segregated could keep more of the little nasties in the corral.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 03:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnucklHed BBQ View Post

Please explain for me, what chances would you be taking if you did not wash the board between meats?

In my mind, if the meat that you're prepping is in good condition and not spoiled or anything, what risk is there of the beef getting something funky from the chicken you just cut before it?

Thanks for the comments everyone!
Beef reaches a safe eating temperature that is lower than pork. Pork reaches a safe eating temperature than poultry.

I know when we cook butts or briskets we cook them to a much higher temperature than chicken, but what if you are cooking steaks and chicken pieces? Do you want to take a chance on contaminating the beef with chicken if the beef is gonna be medium rare?

I am a KISS kinda person, so I do it the same way every time so as not to think when I am doing it. I was taught all this years ago when I work in a restaurant and I just do it outta habit.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 03:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Please explain for me, what chances would you be taking if you did not wash the board between meats?

The issue is that HD classes are geared for everyone and the only way to get a 16 year old working his /hers first food job is to do things that leave no questions is to dumb EVERYTHING down and remove any excuses.

Now I have seen people put chicken over pork/ brisket and even bread where the chicken wasn't completely cooked. This person also sliced buns for burgers on the same board the he cut up under cooked chicken. The chicken was put back in the cooker to finish while the buns were served...little red spots and all.

Bottom line in my opinion is if you dumb it down people can be held accountable for their actions.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 05:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redheart View Post
Beef reaches a safe eating temperature that is lower than pork. Pork reaches a safe eating temperature than poultry.

I know when we cook butts or briskets we cook them to a much higher temperature than chicken, but what if you are cooking steaks and chicken pieces? Do you want to take a chance on contaminating the beef with chicken if the beef is gonna be medium rare?
Well, yes but no... Bear with me for a moment.
A very good point on the cooking temps of dif meats, however we are talking about about safe *internal* temps, our external cooking temp (grill or smoker) is (dare I say) always going to be higher than what the safe internal temp is. Therefore unless we are injecting raw chicken juice into our steak then there is effectively no chance of the exterior of the steak not reaching the safe chicken temp... Does that make sense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redheart View Post
I am a KISS kinda person, so I do it the same way every time so as not to think when I am doing it. I was taught all this years ago when I work in a restaurant and I just do it outta habit.
I agree, that is the best way to never have a problem, and is probably the best practice.

Thanks for the reply!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_KY View Post
The issue is that HD classes are geared for everyone and the only way to get a 16 year old working his /hers first food job is to do things that leave no questions is to dumb EVERYTHING down and remove any excuses.


Bottom line in my opinion is if you dumb it down people can be held accountable for their actions.
I agree!

I think that it might also give fuel to the misconception that something bad happens if a piece of raw chicken touches a piece of raw pork...
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Unread 04-15-2010, 12:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnucklHed BBQ View Post
Well, yes but no... Bear with me for a moment.
A very good point on the cooking temps of dif meats, however we are talking about about safe *internal* temps, our external cooking temp (grill or smoker) is (dare I say) always going to be higher than what the safe internal temp is. Therefore unless we are injecting raw chicken juice into our steak then there is effectively no chance of the exterior of the steak not reaching the safe chicken temp... Does that make sense?



I agree, that is the best way to never have a problem, and is probably the best practice.

Thanks for the reply!



I agree!

I think that it might also give fuel to the misconception that something bad happens if a piece of raw chicken touches a piece of raw pork...
Something bad will happen is raw chicken gets on pork. Let's say the pork is almost finished and the cook ( the helper you have working under your Food safety license ) starts the raw chicken on the grill above it, chicken starts to drip, pork is removed and served then BLAMO!!! you got bugs. While it's impossible to draw every possible scenario it's best to just keep things seperate.

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Unread 04-15-2010, 12:22 AM   #11
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Thanks!
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Unread 04-15-2010, 08:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnucklHed BBQ View Post
Well, yes but no... Bear with me for a moment.
A very good point on the cooking temps of dif meats, however we are talking about about safe *internal* temps, our external cooking temp (grill or smoker) is (dare I say) always going to be higher than what the safe internal temp is. Therefore unless we are injecting raw chicken juice into our steak then there is effectively no chance of the exterior of the steak not reaching the safe chicken temp... Does that make sense?

I see where you are going. The question is do you wanna test that concept when someone else is doing the cooking?
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Unread 04-19-2010, 05:52 AM   #13
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Back in the 70's we did nothing more than wipe the block with a wet wrag when we switched from cutting chicken to cutting steaks in a meat department I worked in at a local grocery. Actually did it front of the HD one day and nothing was said. Oh how times have changed.

And most people would eat meat if they knew what went on in a processing plant or resturant behind the scenes. It is truely over kill, but I do understand the concept of dumbing it down since the teenagers now days can't even count money. Good luck.
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