Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill
It is important to remember to consistently follow certain safe food handling practices. The simple words Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill can serve as reminders to always handle food safely to reduce risk of illness to you and your family.
Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get on hands, cutting boards, knives and countertops. Frequent cleaning can keep that from happening. Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
Rinse fruits and vegetables under running tap water just before eating. Rub firm-skin produce (or scrub with clean brush) under running tap water.
Cross-contamination is how bacteria spreads. Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods.
Even for experienced cooks, the improper heating and preparation of food means bacteria can survive. Use a food thermometer — you can't tell food is cooked safely by how it looks. Download a temperature chart here!
Bacteria spreads fastest at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, so chilling food properly (keep a constant refrigerator temperature of 40 °F or below) is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Websites for food safety information:
The non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education saves lives and improves public health through research-based, actionable consumer food safety initiatives that reduce foodborne illness. Sign up to be a BAC Fighter at www.fightbac.org!