Clean - wash hands and surfaces often:
- Always wash hands with soap and warm running water before handling food.
- Always wash cutting boards, knives, utensils, dishes, and countertops used to cut meat with soapy, hot water right away - before you use them for other foods.
- Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, dishcloths, or sponges, wash them often, and every time they have touched raw meat, poultry, or seafood juices. Use hot soapy water or the hot water cycle of the washing machine.
Separate - don't cross contaminate:
- Store raw meat, chicken, turkey, and seafood in a sealed, wrapped container in the refrigerator.
- Keep raw meat, chicken, turkey, and seafood away from foods that will not be cooked and foods that are already cooked.
- Never place cooked food on a plate or cutting board that previously held raw meat, chicken, turkey, or seafood.
Cook - cook to proper temperatures:
- Use a food thermometer to make sure meats, chicken, turkey, fish and casseroles are cooked to a safe internal temperature.
- Cook roasts and steaks to at least 145 degrees F.
- Cook ground meat to at least 160 degrees F.
- Cook whole chicken or turkey to 180 degrees F.
- Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny. Don't use recipes in which the eggs remain raw or only partially cooked.
- Cook fish until it flakes easily with a fork.
Chill - refrigerate promptly:
- Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, not on the kitchen counter. You can also thaw foods under cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Or use a microwave oven.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftover foods right away. Meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, and egg dishes should not sit out at room temperature for more that 2 hours.
- Divide large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.
- Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below. Don't pack the refrigerator. Cool air needs to circulate to keep food safe.
Provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion