Contamination and cross-contamination from a microorganism or toxin produced by the microorganism can cause illness when digested. Bacteria, mould, parasites, viruses, yeast, and toxins are all examples of microorganisms that could have a detrimental effect
to an individual’s health.
Bacteria can sit on surfaces and can travel between areas, other surfaces, and utensils. The spread of bacteria and viruses can be very quick depending on the type of microbial contaminant and the transmission efficacy.
Some microbial organisms are harmful but not hazardous like spoilage causing microbes that spoil food and reduce the shelf life of a product. Some are hazardous like e-coli, listeria, and Salmonella.
Microbial organisms can be found everywhere: in the air, facility, water, staff, raw materials, equipment, and cooking does not destroy some of these organisms completely. They require water, oxygen, food, and favourable temperatures, which make kitchens
and food processing facilities, the perfect environment and breeding ground for growth. It is especially important to ensure that correct sanitisation is employed and that foods are stored and kept in the correct temperatures so that they do not enter the danger zone and then become a possible contaminant that could easily spread to other areas.
Roundworms are found in some fish species and norovirus can be found in Shellfish from contaminated waters so ensuring that these types of fish are stored, prepared, and cooked properly will minimise the chance of cross-contamination and illness for customers.
A cross-over between raw and cooked products is a way cross-contamination can occur, spreading bacteria into the cooked food which is then served to consumers.