Food Safety 101

You risk illness if you don't store/handle/prepare/serve food safely and at appropriate temperatures. There are a few simple steps you can take to avoid serious problems like food poisoning.

Please use the information below as well as these resources: Quick Fact Sheet: Food Safety; Food Safety & The Fridge; and ISP: Kitchen & Food Safety Basics

Cooking & Serving Meat

Improperly stored/handled/cooked/served meat can carry harmful bacteria. To ensure safety, follow these steps:

Clean Hands

  • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water before starting any food prep.
  • Keep raw meats properly refrigerated (at least 40 degrees or below) until preparation. This includes any marinating time. Adhere to all "use by" and "expiration" dates.
  • Thoroughly wash any utensils or kitchen equipment coming into contact with raw meat in warm, soapy water before using again.
  • A cutting board and knife used to slice raw meat should be washed before being used to cut up other ingredients.
  • A plate used to hold raw meat should be washed before the cooked meat is put back onto the same plate.
  • Any utensil that will be used again as the meat cooks further should be washed as the meat goes from raw to a safe internal temperature.
  • A sponge or scrubbie used to clean utensils/equipment that have come into contact with raw meat should be similarly washed with warm, soapy water or run through the dishwasher.
  • The sink, handle of the faucet, refrigerator handle, and counter tops should be cleaned with warm, soapy water or a disinfectant when raw meat has contaminated these areas either through contact with food or your hands.
  • Thoroughly wash hands in warm, soapy water after handling raw meat and before touching any other surfaces or ingredients.
  • Cook meat to a safe internal temperature. 165 degrees for poultry. 160 degrees for ground meats. 145 degrees for beef, veal, lamb. 145 degrees for pork, ham, seafood and fish. For more information about cooking to a safe, internal temperature, click.
  • Serve meat promptly after cooking, making sure to maintain the temperature to at least 140 degrees.

  • Refrigerate or freeze cooked meat promptly after serving.

Cooking & Serving Vegetables & Starches

  • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water before starting any food prep.
  • Store any frozen or refrigerated vegetables at safe temperatures (32 degress and below for frozen, at least 40 degrees and below for refrigerated) until ready for prep.
  • Store any starches such as pastas and rice in completely sealed packages in safe, clean cupboards until ready for prep. Reseal any partially used packages for continued safe storage.
  • Adhere to all "use by" and "expiration" dates on packages.
  • Cook vegetables and starches to a safe temperature of at least 140 degrees. Maintain a safe temperature of 140 degrees while serving these foods.

Storing & Serving Cold Foods (including leftovers)

  • Refrigerated foods should be stored, and maintained while serving, at a safe temperature of 40 degrees and below.
  • Frozen foods should be stored at a safe temperature of 32 degrees and below.
  • Both refrigerated and frozen foods (including all leftovers) should be properly and completed sealed for storage. Reseal any partially opened/used packages.
  • Mark the date of storage on the package if there is no "use by" or "expiration" date noted.
  • Leftovers, covered and sealed completely, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Frozen foods should be used within 3 months unless a package carries a different "use by" or "expiration" date from the manufacturer.

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