Food Safety

To protect yourself and those you care for from foodborne illness, always follow these food safety principles:


CLEAN: Wash Hands and Surfaces Often

Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and countertops.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm soapy water before handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets.
  • Wash utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.
  • Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

SEPARATE: Don't Cross-contaminate

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in your grocery shopping cart and in your refrigerator.
  • If possible, use different cutting boards for raw meat products and vegetables.
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, countertops, and utensils with hot soapy water after they come in contact with raw meat, poultry, and seafood or their juices.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate which previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.

COOK: Cook to Safe Temperatures

Use a clean food thermometer when measuring the internal temperature of meat, poultry, casseroles, and other foods to make sure they have reached a safe minimum internal temperature (see Cooking Temperature Chart).
  • Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
  • When cooking food in a conventional oven, set the oven temperature to at least 325 °F.

CHILL: Refrigerate Promptly

Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures keep harmful bacteria from multiplying.
  • Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is above 90 °F).
  • Set your refrigerator at 40 °F or below and the freezer at 0 °F or below. Check these temperatures occasionally with an appliance thermometer.
  • Thaw food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Foods should not be thawed at room temperature. Foods thawed in the microwave or in cold water must be cooked immediately to a safe minimum internal temperature before refrigerating.
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator. Discard any uncooked leftover marinade.
  • Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.
  • Don't over pack the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate to keep food safe.