Real Life, Good Food

Food safety 101


Remember these tips as you prepare, cook, and store food at home.


Wash hands with soap and water.

Wet hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available. Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all parts of the hand for 20 seconds. Rinse hands thoroughly and dry using a clean paper towel. If possible, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet.

Sanitize all cooking surfaces.

Surfaces should be washed with hot, soapy water. A solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water can be used to sanitize surfaces.

Clean out refrigerator once a week.

At least once a week, throw out refrigerated foods that should no longer be eaten. Cooked leftovers should be discarded after 4 days and raw poultry and ground meats should be discarded after 1-2 days.

Keep appliances clean.

Clean the inside and outside of appliances. Make sure to also clean buttons and handles!

Rinse produce.

Rinse fresh vegetables and fruits under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking. Make sure to rinse fruit or vegetables even if you plan to peel or cut them before eating.

Separate foods when shopping.

Place any raw seafood or meat in separate bags.

Separate foods when preparing and serving.

Always use a clean cutting board for fresh produce and separate one for raw seafood or meat. Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that previously held raw food.

Use a food thermometer.

A food thermometer can help you make sure that food is safely cooked to the right temperature and that it stored at the right temperature in your fridge or freezer.

Cook food to safe internal temperatures.

Checking the internal temperature of seafood, meat and egg dishes is a great way to keep your food safe. Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb, steaks, chops, and roasts to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to an internal temperature to 160 degrees. Cook all poultry including ground turkey and chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Keep foods at safe temperatures.

Store cold foods at 40 degrees or below. It works well to refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers so hot food can cool more quickly. 

Adapted from Choose MyPlate: 10 Tips to be food safe. 2017.


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