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4 Food Safety Tips

  1. Clean
  2. Separate
  3. Cook  
  4. Chill

1. CLEAN

  • Always wash your hands , utensils and cooking surfaces with soap and hot water before you handle food, repeatedly while you prepare it, and again when you have finished.
  • Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils with a mild bleach and water solution after washing and rinsing.
  • All produce should be washed under cool running water prior to eating or cooking.

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2. SEPARATE

  • Keep certain foods, like meats and their juices, separated from other foods during storage and preparation.
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and vegetables. Always keep food covered.
  • In your refrigerator, store ready to eat foods above raw foods to prevent cross-contamination. 
  • The best way to avoid cross-contamination is to store, handle and prepare raw and cooked foods separately. Remember separate, don't cross-contaminate!!!

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3. COOK

  • Prepare foods quickly, cook them thoroughly, and serve them immediately.
  • Don't let foods linger at temperatures where bacteria can grow. The danger zone is between 4°C (39°F) and 60°C (140°F).
Whole poultry (chicken and turkey) 82°C /180°F
Poultry pieces, ground poultry 74°C/165°F
Ground meat (beef, pork, lamb) 71°C /160°F
Pork and pork products 71°C /160°F
Fish 70°C /158°F
  • Use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature of food. Ensure you test the food at its thickest point. If you hit a bone, you will get an inaccurate reading. 
  • To ensure that your analogue thermometer is accurately calibrated you can test it using one of 2 methods:
  1. Ice Point Method:
    • Fill a container with crushed ice. 
    • Add clean tap water until the container is full and stir well. 
    • Insert the stem of your thermometer into the ice water to read the temperature. 
    • If your temperature does not get a reading of 32°F (0°C), adjust calibration nut located underneath the head of the thermometer. 
    • Hold the head firmly in one hand while turning the calibration nut with a wrench or pliers until the indicator reads 32°F (0°C).
  2. Boiling Point Method:
    • Bring water to a full boil and stir to make sure the temperature is uniform throughout. Insert the stem of the thermometer into the boiling water until the indicator stabilizes. Adjust the calibration nut to read 212°F (100°C). The boiling point method needs to take altitude into account, as the boiling point of water drops about 1°F for every 550 feet above sea level.

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4. CHILL

Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within 2 hours. Food can be cooled quickly and safely by:

  • Dividing large portions into smaller pieces. This will increase the surface area that is being cooled and as a result decrease the amount of cooling time required. 
  • Use shallow pans for quick cooling 
  • Add ice cubes to the food, or cool by immersing the container into an ice bath. 
  • Never leave hazardous food (examples - poultry, meat, dairy) at room temperature or in the temperature "danger zone". 
  • Remember! Cold foods must always be kept at or below 4°C/ 39°F. Frozen foods must be stored at -18°C/ 0°F or colder. 

For more information, visit the  safe food handling practices web page or the  FightBAC!™ web page.

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