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I wonder about the use of the same steak spatula in the course of cooking chicken in a frying pan. In the beginning of the process you might think that the spatula might be contaminated with bacteria which then remain on the spatula throughout the process, so that the finished product is re-contaminated. Is this a real problem?

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2 Answers 2

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Not if you wash the spatula.

Unless you're really sloppy with the spatula, if you don't touch the meat with the spatula until it's seared, and then only touch the side touching the pan, the premise of contamination becomes less likely. If you turn it with tongs instead, you will definitely have a contaminated tong on the first turn.

But you can wash the spatula (or tongs) after that first turn while the meat cooks if you have concerns.

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Yes. It is something to be observant about. In the most conservative terms of food safety, one would not want to use the same utensil that handled a raw product (say, placing raw chicken in a pan or on a grill), as a tool during cooking. In a restaurant, for example, this would not be acceptable food safety practice. Clearly, at home many people are not this conservative. There is, however, a clear route to contamination of your final product.

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  • I'm not sure about commercially, but home cooks often have the option of leaving the utensil in the pan, where it gets cooked like the meat. The worst risk of contamination is when cooking in a staggered way, like barbecuing, when you have both raw and (nearly) cooked foods on the go
    – Chris H
    Dec 24, 2023 at 16:44

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