Be food safe: 10 tips to reduce the risk of foodborne illness

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A critical part of healthy eating is keeping foods safe. Individuals in their own homes can reduce contaminants and keep food safe to eat by following safe food handling practices. Four basic food safety principles work together to reduce the risk of foodborne illness—Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. These four principles are the cornerstones of Fight BAC!®, a national public education campaign to promote food safety to consumers and educate them on how to handle and prepare food safely.


1. 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.

2. Sanitize 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.

3. Clean sweep refrigerated foods 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; raw poultry and ground meats, 1 to 2 days.

4. Keep appliances clean

Clean the inside and the outside of appliances. Pay particular attention to buttons and handles where cross-contamination to hands can occur.

5. Rinse produce

Rinse fresh vegetables and fruits under running water just before eating, cutting, or cooking. Even if you plan to peel or cut the produce before eating, it is important to thoroughly rinse it first to prevent microbes from transferring from the outside to the inside of the produce.


6. Separate foods when shopping

Place raw seafood, meat, and poultry in plastic bags. Store them below ready-to-eat foods in your refrigerator.

7. Separate foods when preparing and serving

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

Cook and chill

8. Use a food thermometer when cooking

A food thermometer should be used to ensure that food is safely cooked and that cooked food is held at safe temperatures until eaten.

9. Cook food to safe internal temperatures

One effective way to prevent illness is to check the internal temperature of seafood, meat, poultry, and egg dishes. Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145 °F. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least 3 minutes before carving or eating. Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F. Cook all poultry, including ground turkey and chicken, to an internal temperature of 165 °F (

10. Keep foods at safe temperatures

Hold cold foods at 40 °F or below. Keep hot foods at 140 °F or above. Foods are no longer safe to eat when they have been in the danger zone between 40-140 °F for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature was above 90 °F).

Food Safety Hints For Delicious, Nutritious Sunday Dinner

Baked Chicken

  • Purchase chicken last during your shopping trip. Take it home right away.
  • Store it carefully so any juice from it can’t drip on other foods.
  • Cook the chicken within two days of purchase. If it will be longer before you prepare it, freeze it.
  • If chicken is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator, in a sealed bag in cold water or in the microwave. Cook immediately after thawing.
  • Be careful not to cross-contaminate when you prepare chicken.
  • Cook the chicken until a thermometer inserted between the leg and thigh indicates a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • After serving, cool chicken quickly and refrigerate it.
  • Eat leftovers within two to three days.
  • Reheat leftovers until they are 165 F.

Tossed Salad with Tomato Wedges

  • Wash the salad greens well and pat them dry.
  • Wash the tomato before cutting it.
  • Have a clean preparation area. Use a clean knife that hasn’t been contaminated by raw animal foods or chemicals.

Snap Beans

  • Wash the snap beans before you snap and cook them.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

  • Scrub sweet potatoes thoroughly before cooking.

Banana Pudding

  • Cover and refrigerate the pudding immediately after preparation.
  • Don’t leave the pudding out on the countertop for longer than two hours (one hour during the summer.)
  • Eat pudding within two days of preparation.
4/1/2020 7:28:27 PM
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