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Food Safety/Restaurant Inspections

Whether you are cooking for yourself, your family, or for a potluck, follow these tips to prevent foodborne illness, also known as “food poisoning”.

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Clean: Wash your hands and surfaces often.

  • Germs that cause food poisoning can survive in many places and spread in your kitchen.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds before, during, and after preparing food and before eating.
  • Always wash your hands after handling uncooked meat, chicken and other poultry, seafood, flour or eggs.
  • Wash your utensils, cutting boards, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables under running water.

Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate.

  • Raw meat, chicken and other poultry, seafood and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat food unless you keep them separate.
  • Keep these items and their juices away from other foods when you are grocery shopping. They should also be kept separate from other foods in your refrigerator, even when marinating.
  • Use one cutting board or plate for these items and use a separate cutting board or plate for produce, bread, and other foods that won’t be cooked.
  • Raw chicken is ready to cook and doesn’t need to be rinsed first. Rinsing can spread germs to other foods, the sink, and the counter, which can make you sick.

Cook to the right temperature.

  • Food is safely cooked when the internal temperature gets high enough to kill germs that can make you sick.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature. The CDC offers these guidelines:
  • Whole cuts of beef, veal, lamb, and pork, including fresh ham: 145 degrees (allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating).
  • Fish with fins: 145 degrees or cook until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.
  • Ground meats, such as beef and pork: 160 degrees
  • All poultry, including ground chicken and turkey: 165 degrees
  • Leftovers and casseroles: 165 degrees
  • Microwave food thoroughly. Let food sit for a few minutes after microwaving to allow cold spots to absorb heat from hotter areas and cook more completely.

Chill: Refrigerate promptly.

  • Bacteria can multiply rapidly if left at room temperature or in the “Danger Zone” between 40 degrees and 140 degrees.
  • Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees and your freezer at 0 degrees.
  • Package warm or hot food into several clean, shallow containers and then refrigerate.
  • Refrigerate perishable food (meat, seafood, dairy, cut fruit, some vegetables, and cooked leftovers) within 2 hours. If the food is exposed to temperatures above 90 degrees, like a hot car or picnic, refrigerate it within 1 hour.
  • Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. Never thaw food on the counter because bacteria multiply quickly in the parts of the food that reach room temperature.


Foodborne Illness-Causing Organisms in the U.S.

What you need to know featuring illness onset, signs and symptoms, duration, and food sources

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Including pet food. Follow these tips to report the problem quickly and effectively.