Raw meat and cross-contamination

Raw meat and poultry can carry harmful bacteria that can be transferred to utensils, surfaces, your hands, and other foods when you're cooking. Prevent cross-contamination by using these tips when handling raw meat.

Why you need to be careful

Bacteria from raw meat, especially poultry, can cause campylobacter and salmonella food poisoning.

Tips to avoid cross-contamination

To avoid transferring bacteria from raw meat to other foods, follow these guidelines.

Buying and storing

  • Separate raw meat from other foods in your trolley. If it isn't in leak-proof packaging, put it in plastic bags to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry covered, and store away from ready-to-eat food, fruit, and vegetables.
  • Store raw meat at the bottom of the fridge to stop any leaking juices – which often contain live bacteria – dripping onto other foods.
  • Storing meat in containers will catch any juices and save unnecessary cleaning up.


  • Wash hands with soap and hot water before and after handling raw meat.
  • Ideally, use a separate chopping board for raw meat.
  • Completely defrost meat before cooking to make sure it cooks evenly. Ensure meat juices do not drip onto other foods.
  • Do not wash meat before cooking. Washing creates puddles and sprays that spread bacteria around the kitchen.


  • Cook meat, especially poultry, thoroughly until juices run clear.
  • Boil used marinade before brushing onto cooked meat.
  • Never return cooked meat to the dish or board that held raw meat, and do not serve with utensils used on raw meat.

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