Preventing Cross-contamination While Preparing Food at Farmers Markets

Achyut Adhikari, Gupta, Priyanka, Aryal, Jyoti, Lituma, Ivannova

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Preventing Cross-contamination While Preparing Food at Farmers Markets

Microbes that can cause illness can be transferred from one item to another while preparing food at the farmers market. It is important to take precautions to prevent cross-contamination. The following lists some sources that can lead to cross-contamination and ways to prevent it.

Cutting boards

  • Use separate cutting boards for fresh produce and raw meat, poultry or seafood.
  • Clean the cutting board properly with hot, soapy water before and after using it.
  • If possible, sanitize the cutting board by using a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water.
  • Replace the cutting board if it becomes excessively worn or develops cracks and grooves that are hard to clean.

Photo of a cutting board with raw meat, cilantro, and a knife all sitting next to each other.
Do not use same cutting board for fresh produce and raw meat.
Photo credit: Jyoti Aryal.


  • Wash countertops with hot, soapy water and use paper towels or clean cloths to wipe up kitchen surfaces or spills before and after preparing each food item.
  • Sanitize countertops periodically using kitchen sanitizer. If sanitizer is not available, a bleach solution can be prepared for cleaning the surface by mixing 1 teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach in 1 quart of clean water. Leave the bleach on the surface for about 10 minutes to effectively clean it.

Photo of hand in clear protective gloves using a knife to cut a small pepper on a cutting board.
Use plastic or glass cutting boards instead of wooden ones to eliminate the risk of bacterial contamination.
Photo credit: Priyanka Gupta.

Cloth towels

  • Use hot water to regularly wash cloths used for cleaning.
  • Don’t dry your wet hands with the towels that have been used previously to clean up surfaces.

Knives and utensils

  • Use separate knives and utensils for fresh produce and raw meat, poultry or seafood.
  • Clean the knives and utensils properly with hot, soapy water before and after using them to cut or prepare food.
  • Do not place cooked food on a plate that was previously used to store raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs unless it was washed properly with hot, soapy water.

Personal hygiene

  • Wash hands properly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling the food, and after using the bathroom or other activities, such as changing diapers or handling pets.
  • Wear clean clothes and an apron.
  • Tie back hair and cover it with hairnet.
  • Keep your fingernails trimmed and clean.
  • Put personal belongings away before preparing food.
  • Cover cuts and sores with a bandage or dressing.
  • Wear gloves while handling food.
  • Change gloves whenever you handle money, touch anything that is unsanitary or when changing activities.

Photo of hands putting on clear protective gloves.
Wear gloves when preparing food. Change gloves when changing activities.
Photo credit: Priyanka Gupta.


Minnesota Department of Health. (2007). Prevent Cross-Contamination. Minnesota Department of Health Consumer Fact Sheet.

Minnesota Department of Health. (n.d.). Food Contamination and Foodborne Illness Prevention.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2016). Keep Food Safe! Food Safety Basics. USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2017). Safe Food Handling: What You Need to Know.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2018). Cleaning – Food Safety for Moms to Be.

12/16/2022 10:24:24 PM
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