How to Keep Food Safe

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How to Keep Food Safe

Step 1- CLEAN

  • Wash hands the right way—at least 20 seconds with soap and hot running water
  • Wash counter tops and utensils every time you use them
  • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables under running water; drain in colander


  • Use one cutting board for fresh fruits and vegetables; use a different cutting board for raw meat, poultry, or seafood
  • Use separate plates and utensils for cooked and raw foods
  • Wash all plates, utensils, and cutting boards that were used for raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs
  • Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate in your shopping cart, grocery bags, and refrigerator

Step 3-COOK

  • Cook food to the right temperature
  • Use a food thermometer; place the thermometer in the thickest part of the food to see if it’s done
  • Keep food hot after cooking at 140°F
  • Microwave food to 165°F

Step 4-CHILL

  • Refrigerate food within 2 hours
  • Don’t overfill your refrigerator; give your food some room
  • Keep refrigerator set between 40°F and 32°F
  • Freezing keeps food safe until you can cook it
  • Set freezer at 0°F or below
  • Never thaw or marinate food on the counter top
  • Thaw food in refrigerator, microwave, or in cold water
  • Always marinate food in the refrigerator


This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.