Chapter 5 : Cross-Contamination

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The largest food-borne outbreak in U.S. history was almost over before most people even knew it had begun. An estimated 224,000 people were infected by the -contaminated ice cream, breaking the 10-year-old record of 197,000 victims that had been set by the Jewel Dairy outbreak of 1984. The investigation team concluded that the Schwan's ice cream outbreak was due to cross-contamination of ice cream premix by contaminated liquid egg. The Schwan's ice cream outbreak is an extreme example of the harm that can be caused by cross-contamination. Most food-borne illnesses that are traced to cross-contamination are relatively small and are due to mishandling of foods-especially raw meats and poultry-in a household kitchen or a food service facility. A momentary lapse of attention to good food handling practices in the kitchen can expose food handlers and consumers to pathogens such as , , or O157:H7. And, unfortunately, cross-contamination of raw beef, pork, and poultry in slaughterhouses and packing plants has made the kitchen a high-risk area for food-borne illness. Although is not a common contaminant of produce, it is present in a high percentage of raw poultry meat. When mishandling creates conditions that open the door to cross-contamination, can walk right through. After reviewing the four outbreaks in their entirety, investigators concluded that cross-contamination was the most likely cause.

Citation: Entis P. 2007. Cross-Contamination, p 69-87. In Food Safety. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816186.ch5
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116. Yang, H.,, Y. Li,, and M. G. Johnson. 2001. Survival and death of Salmonella typhimurium and Campylobacter jejuni in processing water and on chicken skin during poultry scalding and chilling. J. Food Prot. 64: 770 776.
117. Yang, S.,, M. G. Leff,, D. McTague,, K. A. Horvath,, J. Jackson- Thompson,, T. Murayi,, G. K. Boeselager,, T. A. Melnik,, M. C. Gildemaster,, D. L. Ridings,, S. F. Altekruse,, and F. J. Angulo. 1998. CDC surveillance summaries. Multistate surveillance for food-handling, preparation, and consumption behaviors associated with foodborne diseases: 1995 and 1996 BRFSS food-safety questions. Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. 47(SS-4): 33 57.
118. Zhao, T.,, and M. P. Doyle. 1994. Fate of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 in commercial mayonnaise. J. Food Prot. 57: 780 783.


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Table 5.1

Summary of selected food-borne illness outbreaks confirmed or suspected to have been due to cross-contamination in a food service, restaurant, or retail food setting.

Citation: Entis P. 2007. Cross-Contamination, p 69-87. In Food Safety. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816186.ch5

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