Separation for Contamination Prevention and Food Safety

cross-contamination and raw meat

Separation of raw and ready-to-eat food items is necessary throughout your whole food operation (apart from the cooking stage). Where food is supplied or delivered adequate separation must be maintained; even where staff are unloading or decanting food items. Communication with delivery drivers and suppliers may be necessary to ensure that controls are maintained.

Ideally, you should designate a room or area for the specific task of raw food preparation. The area must be clearly identifiable as a raw food preparation area by signage. Where a specific room or preparation area is not able to be designated a temporary area must be designated as the raw food preparation area and time/separation controls imposed in order to control the potential of cross-contamination; along with appropriate cleaning and disinfection procedures. Where possible, separate colour coded equipment (such as boards) must be used in accordance with industry standards.

Time/separation controls involve designating a time where raw and ready-to-eat foods are prepared. Any bulk preparation of raw foods should be undertaken outside service periods to limit the potential for cross-contamination. Once raw foods have been prepared all equipment must be removed and cleaned/disinfected, working areas and fixtures must be disinfected and new equipment provided for the preparation of other food items. Different personnel and work clothing (such as aprons) may also be used between tasks.

The use of colour-coded equipment is necessary; particularly colour coded boards. They must be used in accordance with standard industry policy. Ideally they should be small enough to place through the dishwasher for thermal disinfection. It is recommended that spare boards are kept in storage in case of damage.

Learn more about managing food safety.

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