While we often might not wash our hands adequately or incorrectly determine meat doneness, the most contamination occurs in spice jars.
According to the research, forty-eight percent of spice containers sampled showed evidence of MS2 cross-contamination.
In fact, spice containers had the highest bacteria concentrations across any kitchen surfaces.
The researchers didn’t see it coming either. “We were surprised because we had not seen evidence of spice container contamination before,” Donald Schaffner, PhD, a food science professor at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, told Food Safety News. “Most research on the cross-contamination of kitchen surfaces due to handling of raw meat or poultry products has focused on kitchen cutting boards or faucet handles and has neglected surfaces like spice containers, trash bin lids, and other kitchen utensils.”
It is important that home cooks wash their hands not just before and after cooking, but during too.
Make sure you wipe down your spice jars while cooking too, especially if you are handling raw meat. Remember an estimated 20% of food borne illnesses are acquired at home.