Food Safety Tips - The Basics of Food Safety
Separate, Cook and Chill
You can help prevent food poisoning from bacteria and viruses by following 4-simple steps when you prepare food:
- CLEAN: Wash hands and surfaces often
- SEPARATE: Don't cross-contaminate!
- COOK: Cook to proper temperature
- CHILL: Refrigerate promptly
“Back to nature”-- that’s what many Americans are trying to do with the foods that they buy and eat. They are shopping at farmers’ markets, picking organic foods at their grocery stores, participating in food cooperatives (or co-ops), and some are even growing their own food. Many people are trying to eat foods that are produced with minimal processing.
However, milk and products made from milk (including certain cheeses, ice cream, and yogurt) are foods that, when consumed raw, can pose severe health risks.
Below are some suggestions for combating bacteria and food borne illness at home:
- Wash hands with soap under hot running water for at least 20-seconds and dry hands with paper towels. Wash hands before and after handling food, especially raw meat, poultry or seafood.
- Wash cutting board, knives and kitchen utensils with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next food item.
- Use paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, make sure to wash often in hot water in washing machine.
- Leftovers and prepared food should be refrigerated or frozen within two hours.
- Reheat take-out foods and leftovers to a minimum of 165-degrees and stir food to heat evenly.
- Eat, freeze or discard refrigerated leftovers within 3 to 4 days.
- Keep raw meat, poultry, eggs and seafood and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods; never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, eggs or seafood.
- Preparing and Cooking Food - One of the basics of food safety is cooking food to its proper temperature. Foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause food borne illness.
- Always wash hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, handling pets, coughing, sneezing or touching hair and clothing.
- Avoid handling food when ill or if you have cuts or sores on your hands.
- Do not wipe your hands on clothing or an apron.
- Clean and sanitize handles on your refrigerator, dishwasher, faucets, drawers and cabinets.
- Dispose of trash frequently and always wash your hands afterward.