Why is there a need to separate raw food from cooked food? Disease-causing bacteria and other viruses can quickly fan out from raw or uncooked food to cooked food, which is a process of cross-contamination.
It is important to separate raw foods like poultry, meat, and seafood from cooked foods in your kitchen, refrigerator, or while you are handling and preparing foods at your home.
Raw food, especially poultry, meat, and seafood still have their juices that can contain harmful bacteria that can spread to other foods during preparation and storage of food. Raw foods my still have microorganisms and when placed next to cooked foods will easily contaminate cooked foods.
To avoid juices from raw poultry, meat, or seafood from dripping to other foods inside your refrigerator, it is best to put raw foods inside a sealed container or plastic bag.
If you are preparing raw foods like cleaning, storing or cooking them, just be sure not to place them near cooked foods. Cooked food can easily be contaminated with germs if it gets into contact with raw foods allowing these germs to spread and grow rapidly.
Raw and cooked foods need to be separated at all times. Cross-contamination happens when raw foods come in contact with cooked foods. Kitchen utensils such spoons, knives, chopping boards as well as the surfaces should also be clean while preparing raw food. Carefully wash the dishes, cutting boards, and utensils with detergent and hot water right after they come in contact with raw foods.
When cooking or grilling raw meats or fish, use one cutting board for raw foods and another one for unwashed vegetables and fruits. If you do not have two cutting boards, you can first prepare vegetables and fruits and place them safely. You can wash the cutting board thoroughly with hot soapy water, prepare the raw poultry, seafood, and meat, and use the same cutting board. After using it with the raw foods, wash the cutting board again.
Be certain that you are using a clean tray or platter to keep the foods after cooking. Do not use the same tray you used to carry the raw food that you cooked on the grill. If cooked food is placed on an unwashed tray that previously carried the raw poultry, meat, or seafood, microorganisms from the raw food could spread onto the cooked food. Marinades that were used on raw poultry, meat, or seafood can contain microorganisms. If you would like to use them again on cooked foods, you have to boil them first.
A California food handler can give you even more excellent information on this subject to keep you safe.