(1) The Process Flow Diagram

Cross-contamination is how bacteria can spread. It occurs when juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects touch cooked or ready-to-eat foods. By following a few simple steps as you handle, store, shop and cook foods, you can greatly reduce your risk of food poisoning.

At the grocery store, separate fresh or frozen, raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from produce and ready-to-eat foods in your shopping cart and grocery bags.

  • If you are using reusable grocery totes to transport groceries, place meat, poultry and seafood in plastic bags to prevent juices from leaking.

  • Place groceries in the back seat instead of the trunk of a vehicle.

When storing food, refrigerate or freeze groceries within two hours.

  • Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood on bottom shelf of refrigerator in a sealed container or plastic bag to ensure juices don’t drip onto ready-to-eat foods and cause contamination.

  • Keep eggs in original carton and store on shelves of refrigerator — not in the door.

  • Store reusable totes in a clean, dry location and wash frequently with hot, soapy water or in the washing machine. Avoid leaving reusable totes in the trunk of a vehicle.

Special precautions should be taken when preparing food. Wash hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before, during and after handling raw meats and foods.

  • Wash plates between uses or use separate plates: one for holding raw meat, poultry or seafood and another for cooked foods.

  • Place washed produce into clean storage containers, not back into the original ones.

  • Be aware of the tools used during cooking — never use the same knife for raw meat, poultry or seafood to chop produce or ready-to-eat foods.

  • Use one cutting board for meat, poultry and seafood, and a separate cutting board for produce and ready-to-eat foods.


  • Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in your grocery-shopping cart.

  • Place these foods in plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods.

  • It is also best to separate these foods from other foods at check out and in your grocery bags.

When refrigerating food:

  • Place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in containers or sealed plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods. Raw juices often contain harmful bacteria.

  • Store eggs in their original carton and refrigerate as soon as possible.

When preparing food:

Keep it clean:

  • Wash hands and surfaces often. Harmful bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops. To prevent this:

  • Wash hands with soap and hot water before and after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers; or handling pets.

  • Use hot, soapy water and paper towels or clean cloths to wipe up kitchen surfaces or spills. Wash cloths often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.

Cutting boards:

  • Always use a clean cutting board.

  • If possible, use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

  • Once cutting boards become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, you should replace them.