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Food Safety is … Following these Simple Steps

food safety

Healthy eating will not only decrease your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes, but can also decrease your risk of food-borne illness. Keeping food safe is a easy if you follow these four simple steps.


Step 1: CLEAN.

  • Wash your hands following these six steps:
    1. Wet your hands with warm, running water.
    2. Apply soap.
    3. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Don’t forget to clean around your fingernails where germs like to hide.
    4. Rinse.
    5. Dry your hands on a paper towel or clean, cloth towel.
  • Wash your hands often, but especially after coughing, sneezing or going to the bathroom and always before and after handling food.
  • Wash countertops, cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables under clean, running water even if you plan to peel them.


  • Separate raw meats, poultry, seafood and eggs from foods that are ready-to-eat or that can be eaten raw.
  • At the grocery store, place raw meats in a separate bag from ready-to-eat foods.
  • At home, refrigerate raw meats on the bottom shelf or in the meat drawer to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods.
  • Use one cutting board for raw meat, poultry and seafood and another for salads and other ready-to-eat food.
  • Wash cutting boards and knives between uses.

Step 3: COOK.

  • Use a food thermometer to make sure food has reached a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria that can cause illness. You can’t tell by just looking.
  • Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the food away from any bones.
  • Meats are safe to eat when they’ve reached the following internal temperatures:
    • Beef – 145°F (160°F for medium doneness)
    • Ground beef – 160°F
    • Pork – 145°F
    • Poultry – 165°F

Step 4: CHILL.

  • Chill leftovers and takeout foods within two hours.
  • Freeze leftovers within three to four days if they will not be used immediately.
  • Keep the refrigerator at 40°F or below and the freezer at 0°F or below.
  • Use refrigerator/freezer thermometers to measure the temperature inside your appliance.
  • Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • Don’t leave foods in the temperature danger zone (40-140°F) for more than two hours or for longer than one hour if the food is outdoors and temperatures are above 90°F.

Reference: Fight BAC! Partnership for Food Safety Education