are you overly cautious about cross-contamination?


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I ask this because I was at a friend's house the other day and we were visiting over coffee. She was preparing supper, some kind of casserole and I couldn't believe the amount of dishes she went through. She started with an empty sink and by the end of it, the double sink was overflowing on both sides and her countertop next to it was full as well, and that wasn't counting the dish she was baking the casserole in. I honestly think she used just about every utensil and dish she had in her kitchen and she said it was because she was scared of cross-contamination in the food.

I admit I am more careful when dealing with raw meats and such, but nowhere near what she was. Is anyone else like this and why?
 
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Oh wow, that's just too much. Even if I'm being concerned with cross contamination, I don't feel like most of my recipes would even use up that many different dishes and utensils. I prefer to keep it a bit simpler than that. The only items I'm REALLY concerned about are meats, so the rest isn't a huge deal in my mind.
 
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I think that sounds like a tad bit of overkill. I would say I'm reasonably careful...it's something that I stay mindful of, but I don't use up all of my dishes to do so.
 
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I agree, that does seem like overkill. I am more concerned with cross contamination with different raw meats and raw meats with cooked food. Though to answer your question it could be a habit formed from something. Maybe someone nagged her about CC and it got her a bit paranoid. Maybe she or someone else she knew got sick from CC and now she's scared of it happening again. It also could be OCD. Who knows? I personally couldn't stand washing so many dishes for something that is supposed to be so simple. I would probably just cook and drain the meat (if it was a meat casserole) and then just throw everything else in together. I do very lazy casseroles.
 
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People think I am crazy but I love to cook in a clean work space. I use an ingredient, I put it away right after I wipe things up (especially flour) I just find that it makes clean up a breeze to cook or bake this way.
 
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People think I am crazy but I love to cook in a clean work space. I use an ingredient, I put it away right after I wipe things up (especially flour) I just find that it makes clean up a breeze to cook or bake this way.
Ha, it would drive me nuts to watch you cook! I can understand wanting a clean workspace in general , but one of my grandmas was that way. She was the type who would actually start cleaning off the table before everyone was even done eating and in her "spare time" she would re-iron things, so a bit more excessive, of course, lol.

But on the rare occasion that she would cook a full meal, everything would get wiped down as soon as it was used and then put away.....even if she might need it again in the next dish (like if she was using eggs in more than one recipe for a meal, they would still get put back in the fridge in between). Sometimes I would just want to scream "you can put all those things away while the biscuits are in the oven!!" because it felt like it took her twice as long to finish a dish because of the "quick cleanup" in between each ingredient use.
 
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I'm sort of in-between. I wash my hands constantly and stuff when I'm dealing with raw meat. I tend to just wash a dish really quickly and then use it for another purpose rather than reaching in the cabinet for one dish after another. In my experience (not necessarily your friend, though!), those who use a lot of dishes when preparing a simple meal just aren't comfortable in the kitchen yet. I was that way when I first started cooking.
 
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In my experience (not necessarily your friend, though!), those who use a lot of dishes when preparing a simple meal just aren't comfortable in the kitchen yet. I was that way when I first started cooking.
This could be true for many. It's kind of like how a new mom is really overly cautious, but by her third kid, she loosens up on a lot of things. It doesn't mean she doesn't still put her kids in carseats to protect them (washing hands in between handling raw meat), but maybe she doesn't obsessively sanitize every little thing the baby might touch (like washing every little item in the kitchen constantly). You eventually learn what's okay to let lapse some, I think.
 
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I would probably do the same thing if I were in her shoes, for two reasons: 1.) Heaven forbid if I actually did get everyone sick due to some sort of cross contamination. 2.) Perhaps she is particular about how sanitary others are when preparing food and is self conscious that others are similarly keeping an eye on here as she prepares everything. I would rather have someone gossip to our other friends about how overly safe I am as opposed to how unsanitary I am when cooking.

I will admit, I've gotten pretty grossed out by some of my friends when watching them cook to the point where I tried as much as possible to avoid eating what they were offering to us. The other thing though is I used to work as a kitchen manager and had to keep an eye on all this stuff with the employees, so I've still kind of got that mind set I guess.
 
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I'm careful with raw meat and eggs but I definitely don't use a bunch of different dishes. Like Lindakay, I wash a dish quickly before using it for something else.
I don't enjoy washing dishes, so I'm not trying to create more dishes to wash. I must be doing okay because no one has gotten sick from my cooking.
 
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I'm careful with raw meat contaminating cooked things and I do wipe my counters down a lot if I'm handling raw meat. I usually clean up while I cook because my kitchen doesn't have a ton of work space. I wash the same dish over and over if I'm just mixing thing ect. I try not to dirty very many dishes!
 
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The only thing I worry about with cross contamination is with meat and raw fruit or veggies. If I have just cut up meat, and then I need to cut up some veggies that are going to be cooked in the dish, I don't worry about using a fresh knife or cutting board or plate. But if I'm only going to use half an onion or whatever veg, and I'm going to be saving the rest for another use, I'll use a fresh cutting board or plate and knife.
 
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Uh, not as much as that person. And yeah - only with meat and produce really. I'll wash my fruits/veggies before cutting them up. And rinse off the cutting board in between them sometimes, depending on how dirty it's getting. I work with meat on one plate and rinse or quickly wash that off in between it being on the plate and actually cooking.
 
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I am very careful when it comes to potential cross contamination with raw meat, but otherwise I do not dirty too many dishes when I am cooking or baking. I worked in a bakery once and we had to get servsafe certified which involved taking a test after washing a video and reading a book about cross contamination and other kitchen safety issues. I am careful, but not so careful that I use a new dish or bowl for every ingredient.
 
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I'm very careful myself when it comes to cooking or preparing raw meat, but I usually try and plan the meal so that I lower the risk of any cross contamination. So for example, one of my favourite, simple meals is to make some spicy chicken burgers and wedges to go with it. So I'll make the wedges first and get them going, and then after that use the chopping board for the chicken. That way there's no worrying about any cross contamination, since the wedges are already off the board!
 
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Meats, seafood and raw eggs are my main concern when it comes to food poisoning. I never use the same knives, plates and chopping boards when preparing these items and then switching over to fruits and salads!

A common mistake (and a serious violation in terms of food hygiene and safety) is that many restaurant kitchen staff keep their raw meats and seafoods in the refrigerator above fruits and vegetables that are meant for salads. This is a big no-no and I know because I used to work as a quality assurance officer in a food factory.
 
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A common mistake (and a serious violation in terms of food hygiene and safety) is that many restaurant kitchen staff keep their raw meats and seafoods in the refrigerator above fruits and vegetables that are meant for salads. This is a big no-no and I know because I used to work as a quality assurance officer in a food factory.
Not to tell you any horror stories, or put you off eating out, but I can recall working in a restaurant for a bit when I was growing up for experience, and I was asked to cut up chicken for the sandwhiches. And they wanted me to do it right next to the salad bar section. And I'm pretty certain that it was uncooked chicken!
 

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