How to Prevent Cross-Contamination & Food-Borne Illness

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    Prevent Food-Borne Illness

    • 1). Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before, during and after cooking. After handling a food item, wash your hands before moving to the next item.

    • 2). Cook all meats to the appropriate temperatures. Check the temperature by inserting a food thermometer into the meat as it cooks.

      The required temperature varies according to the meat. For example, well-done beef and pork should be at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Most poultry should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Seafood temperatures vary from 125 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. (See Reference 3.)

    • 3). Refrigerate leftover food immediately.

    • 4). Store foods at the proper temperatures. Set your refrigerator to a temperature that is low enough to prevent spoilage. Cold or perishable foods should be stored at a temperature no higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain hot foods at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Leftovers should be reheated to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

    • 5). Avoid thawing and then refrigerating meat products. Cook meat immediately after thawing. Meat should never be left on the counter to thaw at room temperature. Instead, thaw it in the refrigerator, in the microwave or under cold water.

    • 6). Check expiration dates. If the expiration date has passed, throw the food away.

    • 7). Do not use unpasteurized milk, juice, or dairy products.

    Prevent Cross-Contamination

    • 1). Do not place food on a surface that other foods have touched unless you have washed the surface with a sanitizer or disinfectant.

    • 2). Store meat and produce in different sections of your refrigerator or freezer. Store meats in the lower sections of your refrigerator so that they do not drip blood onto other foods.

    • 3). Use a separate cutting board for meats.

    • 4). After handling meat, wash your hands with antibacterial soap before touching other foods.

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