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Cross-Contamination

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Updated July 12, 2007

Definition:

Cross-contamination is a phenomenon that occurs when a food that does not itself contain any allergens is tainted with an allergen during food preparation, cooking, storage, or serving.

Examples:

Cross-contamination could occur in these and many other settings:

  • When food is chopped on a cutting board on which allergens have previously been cut;
  • When baked goods are baked on a cookie sheet that hasn't been thoroughly washed after baking cookies containing allergens;
  • When foods are cooked on a grill on which foods marinated with allergens are also grilled;
  • When spoons on a salad bar are used to serve both allergenic foods and safe foods;
  • When knives are used to cut allergenic foods and safe foods without washing in between.
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