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How can you avoid cross-contamination?

Cross-contamination is often the cause of food poisoning. It is common in restaurants but also affects bakeries! Cross-contamination is the direct or indirect transfer of “microbes” from contaminated food (raw products, packaging, etc.) to other foods at a more advanced stage of preparation (cooked and ready-to-eat products). To avoid this, rely on proven methods such as the “forwards-only” sequence or the “forwards-only” sequence in time!

Principles of the “forwards-only” sequence

The “forwards-only” sequence is an organisation of preparation steps which implies that the contaminated products sector never crosses the uncontaminated products sector.

The sequence of the various production steps must therefore be “forward” in a logical sequence. Work areas are separated: uncontaminated/contaminated, cooked/raw. A rigorous circuit is set up allowing continuous progress of the preparation process.


The “forwards-only” sequence in time

Small premises tent not to lend themselves well to the “forwards-only” sequence in space.

In this case, they can adopt the “forwards-only” sequence in time. With this approach, “uncontaminated” and “contaminated” operations can take place in the same place, but not at the same time.

They succeed one another following cleaning and disinfection between each operation. It is also important to differentiate between the equipment for the preparation of raw and cooked products.


Ensuring that workstations are separated

Even at the core of preparation operations, seek to limit cross-contamination between products of different origins and destinations.

For example, separate the pastry workstation (puff pastries, bases, masses, etc.) from that used for desserts and creams. The processing of chocolate and ice cream, which requires an air-conditioned, dry and uncontaminated environment, must be completely isolated from steps that emit heat, mist or dust.


Essential hygiene rules to prevent cross-contamination

Wash your hands several times a day with anti-bacterial soap, especially after handling raw ingredients. Dry them with a clean, dry towel or disposable paper towel.
Wash all your utensils before using them, but also before reusing them with another food.
Regularly change dish cloths, tea towels, hand towels and aprons or use disposable products.
Organise your cold room by storing contaminated products at the bottom and uncontaminated products at the top.


Optimising the storage of your raw materials

The First  In, First Out (FIFO) method is the best way of managing raw material stocks, both on your shelves and in your cold room. It imposes rigorous principles of storage.

This method is essential for perishable products. It avoids the inadvertent use of expired products and allows you to be very vigilant about the use by dates of each ingredient. Each purchase must be depleted before using the next product.

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