Food Safety Basics

Clean

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before and after handling food
  • Wash cutting boards, knives, utensils and counters with hot soapy water
  • Rinse all fruits and vegetables under running water; use a vegetable brush on firm fruits and vegetables
  • Immediately wipe up spills with soap and water
  • Wash dish cloths and kitchen towels often and in hot, soapy water and dry on high heat.

Separate

  • Keep raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood away from other foods both at home and in your grocery cart
  • Wash reusable grocery bags in-between uses
  • Use separate utensils for raw foods and cooked foods
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meats, cooked meats, and produce or scrub cutting boards thoroughly between uses.

Cook

  • Always use a meat thermometer! Color and texture are not reliable indicators of food reaching proper cooking temperatures.
  • Cook ground meat to 160° F, poultry to 165°F, roasts and fish to 145°F
  • Be sure to follow cooking instructions on prepared foods

Chill

  • Refrigerate foods at ≤ 40°F.
  • Use a thermometer in your refrigerator to ensure it is operating at ≤40°F
  • Ensure your freezer is set to 0°C or lower
  • Keep your refrigerator clean and wipe up any spills immediately with hot, soapy water
  • Refrigerate or freeze foods and leftovers within 2 hours of cooking or preparation
  • Separate portions into smaller containers to speed up cooling
  • Only thaw foods in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. NEVER leave foods out on the counter to thaw.
  • Discard foods that have exceeded safe storage times (http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html)

Keep food in the safe zone

  • Keep hot foods hot (> 140°F) and cold foods cold (< 40°F)
  • During gatherings, store perishable foods on ice and keep warm foods on a hot plate or in a slow cooker.
  • Refrigerate or freeze foods within 2 hours. Discard any food that has been out longer than 2 hours