Wash your hands!

Handwashing in the kitchen
Credit: Rachel Ham

Useful Tools

5 tips to get you started keeping foodborne illness at bay

  1. Have soap for handwashing within easy reach for everyone.
  2. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
  3. Have separate towels for washing your hands and drying your dishes.
  4. Buy an easy to sanitize cutting board.
  5. Buy disinfectant wipes or have a spray bottle with a simple bleach solution in it.

Shopping for Food

4 more tips for avoiding problems at the market

  1. Shop at a market with spotless meat, fish, and produce sections.
  2. Put packages meat, fish, and poultry in plastic bags to avoid cross-contamination with fresh produce.[5450]
  3. Avoid expired products and bulging canned goods.
  4. Go directly home with no delay in refrigeration between shopping and storage.

Storing Food

6 more tips to keep in mind once you get your purchases home

  1. Refrigerate perishables, including eggs. Refrigeration makes salmonella more susceptible to heat.[5450] BTW, check the temperature of your refrigerator. It should be between 40 and 42°F.
  2. Don't keep sensitive products (like eggs) in the door of the fridge, where it is the warmest.
  3. Use raw meat or poultry within 48 hours of purchase or freeze it. Make sure the raw meat is not leaking juices on other food.
  4. Keep your cupboards and refrigerator clean. At the first sign of an infestation (ants, moths, mice) throw out ALL open bags, boxes, and containers. Thoroughly clean everything that comes into contact with food.
  5. Wrap frozen foods tightly.
  6. Don't jam your freezer with too much food. The air won't be able to circulate and keep the food at the correct temperature (0°F).[5450]

Food preparation

5 final tips

  1. Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds. Do this after toileting, after touching your hair or face or rubbing your nose, after handling raw meat, after doing anything with trash. Hand washing is the easiest way to limit foodborne illnesses.
  2. Avoid cross-contamination. Use 2 cutting boards - one for raw meats, the other for everything else. Don't let raw and cooked foods touch EVER.
  3. Wash all produce thoroughly.
  4. Throw out anything that smells bad, looks moldly or fuzzy or just doesn't taste right.
  5. Clean up as quickly as possible.