1 Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before beginning food preparation, after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or touching pets.
2 Wash cutting boards, dishes, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.
3 Try to use one cutting board for fresh produce — and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
4 Sanitize cutting boards with a freshly made solution of:
1 Tb of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gal. of water.
5 Before eating or preparing, wash fresh produce under cold running tap water to remove any lingering dirt. This also reduces bacteria that may be present. Firm produce (like apples or potatoes) can be scrubbed with a brush.
6 Going from “frozen to thawed” needs to be accomplished safely! There are three ways to thaw — and because bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature, none of these methods involve the kitchen counter.
– In the Refrigerator: This is the safest way to thaw meat and poultry. Take the food out of the freezer and thaw it in the fridge. Place it on a plate or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. Normally, it will be ready to use the next day.
– In Cold Water: For faster thawing, put the frozen package in a watertight plastic bag and submerge it in cold water; change the water every 30 minutes. The cold water slows bacteria that might be growing in the thawed portions of the meat while the inner areas are still thawing. Once thawed, cook it immediately.
– In the Microwave: Follow instructions from the oven’s manufacturer or owner’s manual.
7 Meat and poultry that have been fully defrosted in the refrigerator may be refrozen before or after cooking. * If thawed in cold water or in the microwave, always fully cook before refreezing.
8 The only accurate way to know if food is cooked safely is to measure the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry, and egg products with a food thermometer.
9 If you aren’t going to serve food right away, it’s important to keep it at 140ºF or above. Once food is safely cooked on the stove top, in the oven, or in a microwave oven, keep food hot by using a heat source. Place food in chafing dishes, on warming trays, or in slow cookers. Check the temperature frequently to make sure food stays at or above 140ºF.
10 Take eggs straight home and store them in their original carton in the refrigerator. Follow the 2-Hour Rule: Never allow eggs to be unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours. Place them in the coldest part of the refrigerator — not in the door, where they’d be exposed to warmer air every time the door is opened.
11 Keep unopened hot dogs and prepackaged luncheon meats in the refrigerator in their original vacuum-sealed package for up to 2 weeks. Once opened, re-wrap well and use luncheon meats within 3 to 5 days and hot dogs within 1 week.
12 Standing times allow internal cooking to continue after the food is cooked in the microwave. They are necessary in order to kill possible food-borne bacteria that may be present in meat and poultry.
13 The counter top “slow cooker” cooks foods slowly and at a low temperature—generally between 170 and 280°F. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking time, and steam created within the tightly covered container work in combination to destroy bacteria and make the slow cooker a safe process for cooking foods. While food is cooking and once it’s done, food will stay safe as long as the cooker is operating. Always defrost meat or poultry before putting it into a slow cooker. Food should remain safe up to 2 hours in the cooker with the power off.
14 Store leftovers in shallow, covered containers and refrigerate within 2 hours after cooking is finished. Reheating leftovers in a slow cooker is not recommended. However, cooked food can be brought to steaming on the stove top or in a microwave oven and then put into a preheated slow cooker to keep hot for serving.
15 Whether you are in your kitchen or enjoying the great outdoors, there are some food safety principles that remain constant. The first is “Keep hot food hot and cold food cold” to keep foods out of the “Danger Zone.”
16 When transporting raw meat or poultry, double-wrap or place the packages in plastic bags to prevent juices from the raw product from dripping on other foods.
17 Soap and water are essential to cleanliness, so if you are going somewhere that will not have running water, bring water with you or have disposable wipes on hand.
18 Meat and poultry cooked on a grill can brown quickly on the outside — use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.
19 Don’t put grilled food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry because any harmful bacteria present in the raw juices could contaminate safely cooked food.
20 As always, perishable food should not be left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F). Be sure to keep this in mind as the party rocks on — and when in doubt, throw it out.
21 In your lunch bag: once the cold source thaws, perishable food is no longer safe. Discard it.