Designing the kitchen to avoid cross contamination

Designing the kitchen to avoid cross contamination is essential for the prevention of food toxinfection

​​May 8th, 2019. – One of the main causes of food toxinfection, both at home and in catering establishments, is cross contamination, which is caused by the transmission of pathogenic microorganisms from a contaminated food, mainly a raw food, to another that is not and that, being already prepared for consumption, does not have to go through any additional heat treatment.

To avoid cross contamination between foods, it is important to implement the “Forward Flow Principle”. It is a method of organization, used in professional kitchen, which is based on a design of the kitchen that allows food to always go forward, from “dirtier” areas to “cleaner” zones, without crossings or setbacks, during its preparation and transformation. In professional kitchen, the kitchen is designed with three clearly differentiated areas. a) reception b) storage c) preparation and transformation.

In domestic kitchens, however, the space available for storage, handling and cooking of food is usually more limited and this makes it difficult to design the kitchen with a clear differentiation between areas. The Silestone Institute offers you some keys to implement the “Forward Flow Principle” in your kitchen to prevent possible cross-contamination:

  • Follow a logical sequence of work through which the food passes sequentially from its most contaminated stage or raw state, to its final consumption stage, without having to go back to an earlier stage. For this, it is possible to allocate a small area of ​​the kitchen countertop to the handling phase of the raw food, for example, the area closest to the pike, and another to place the food once cooked.

The recommended sequence to consider when designing a kitchen is the following:

  1. Storage and conservation area
  2. Water area
  3. Preparation and transformation
  4. Cooking and plating area
  • Avoid contact between raw and cooked foods, both directly and through kitchen equipment, utensils and containers. To do this, we can clean equipment, such as blenders, when changing food and use utensils and containers for raw food and others for cooked food.
  • Avoid the crossing of waste and dirty utensils with food. To do this, we must not accumulate waste, such as packaging, or dirty utensils, in the area of ​​the countertop where food is going to be handled.
  • Avoid crossing waste or dirty utensils with clean utensils.
  • Avoid contact between countertops or dirty cutting boards with food, especially if they are already cooked or prepared for final consumption.
  • Wash your hands after handling raw food, especially if you are going to handle food that is already been cooked or prepared for final consumption.
  • Avoid using dirty kitchen towels or use single-use paper towels.
  • Place cooked or ready-to-eat food in the upper shelves in the fridge and raw food, such as meat and fish, in the lower shelves