Food Safety

There are a number of things you can do to avoid getting sick from what you eat at home.

Before You Prepare Food

  • Wash your hands. If children are helping you, make sure they wash their hands as well.
  • Wash counters and cooking tools with hot, soapy water before and after preparing foods.
  • Separate raw meats from other foods to avoid the spread of any germs they may contain while raw.
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry (chicken, turkey, duck and other birds), fish and fresh fruits and vegetables.


  • Use a food thermometer. Check thermometer instructions to make sure you use it properly. Recommended minimum internal temperatures to kill bacteria are:
    • All poultry (whole bird, breasts, legs, thighs, wings, organ meats and ground poultry): 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 Celsius)
    • Ground meats: 160 F (70 C)
    • Whole cuts (steaks, chops and roasts) of beef, pork, veal and lamb: 145 F (62 C)
    • Fish and shellfish: 145 F (62 C)
    • Leftovers: 165 F (75 C)
  • Check for signs that meat and poultry are cooked all the way through on the inside. Red meat should be brown or gray inside; poultry juices should run clear; fish should flake with a fork.
  • Keep hot foods hot.
  • Cool down and refrigerate leftovers within two hours or throw them out.

Additional Resources