Four Important Food Safety Tips
CLEAN: Be sure to wash your hands and commonly touched surfaces often! Bacteria can live in many places around your kitchen and home. Wash your hands for 20 seconds (sing happy birthday twice) with soap and water before, during, and after preparing your meal, and again before you eat. Wash your utensils, countertops, bowls, plates, cutting boards, and countertops with hot and soapy water. Rinse your produce with cold water and scrub produce with thick skin with a vegetable brush.
SEPARATE: Raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood can all spread germs. Use separate plates or cutting boards when preparing them. They should also be separate when shopping and when they are stored in the fridge or freezer at home.
COOK: Be sure to cook the food to an adequate internal temperature. This kills germs that can make you sick. The most accurate measurement will be with a food thermometer. Common cooking temperatures are as follows:
- 145 degrees F for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal, and lamb (and allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before eating)
- 160 degrees F for ground meats like beef, pork, or turkey
- 165 degrees F for all poultry such as chicken or turkey
- 165 degrees F for leftovers and casseroles
- 145 degrees F for raw ham (most ham comes cooked from the grocery store)
- 145 degrees F for fin fish (or cook until flesh is opaque)
CHILL: Keep your fridge at 40 degree F (typically the recommended temp but the manual can be referenced) or periodically go through the food to identify expired or spoiled items. Perishable foods should be refrigerated within 2 hours. Be sure to thaw frozen food safely. This would be in the refrigerator, in the microwave, or in the sink in cold water. Leaving the food on the counter can cause harmful bacteria to grow and multiply quickly.
Reference: CDC. (2020). Four Steps to Food Safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/keep-food-safe.html