STEP ONE - CLEAN - Person washing hands with soap and water

STEP 2 - Separate  - Don't Cross Contaminate - Woman slicing steak on a wooden cutting board.

STEP 3 - COOK to the right temperature - Large roasted turkey just out of the oven with thermometer inserted

STEP 4 - Chill - Refrigerate Promptly - image of inside of refrigerator with fresh fruit, veggies, eggs and meats

4 STEP FOOD SAFETY

1. Clean - Wash Hands & Clean Surfaces

    • Wash hands the right way - for 20 seconds with plain soap and running water. Washing your hands the right way can stop the spread of illness-causing bacteria.
    • When should you wash your hands?
      • Before eating food.
      • Before, during and after preparing food.
      • Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
      • After handling uncooked eggs, or raw meat, poultry, seafood or their juices.
      • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
      • After touching an animal or animal waste.
      • After touching garbage.
      • After using the toilet.
    • Wash surfaces and utensils after each use.
    Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils and countertops.
    • Wash fruits and veggies-but not meat, poultry or eggs! Did you know that even if you plan to peel fruits and veggies, it is important to wash them first because bacteria can spread from the outside to the inside as you cut or peel them?

    2. Separate - Do not Cross Contaminate

    • Use separate cutting boards and plates for produce and for meat, poultry, seafood and eggs. Placing ready-to-eat food on a surface that held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs can spread bacteria and make you sick.
    • Keep meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate at the grocery store . Make sure you are not contaminating foods in your grocery bag:
      • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods in your shopping cart.
      • At the checkout, place raw meat, poultry and seafood in plastic bags to keep their juices from dripping on other foods.
    • Keep meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from all other foods in the refrigerator. Bacteria can spread inside your refrigerator if the juices of raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs drip into ready-to-eat foods.

    3. Cook - To the Correct Temperature

    • Use a food thermometer. Cooked food is only safe after it has been heated to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria. Color and texture alone will not tell you whether your food is done. Use a food thermometer to be sure.
    • Keep food hot after cooking (at 135º For above). The possibility of bacterial growth actually increases as food cools after cooking because the drop in temperature allows bacteria to thrive. You can keep your food above the safe temperature of 135ºF by using a heat source like a chafing dish, warming tray or slow cooker.
    • Microwave food thoroughly (to 165º F). To make sure harmful bacteria have been killed in your foods, it is important to microwave them to 165º or higher.
      • When you microwave, stir your food in the middle of heating.
      • If the food label says, "let stand for 'x' minutes after cooking," do not skimp on the standing time. Letting your microwaved food sit for a few minutes actually helps your food cook more completely by allowing colder areas of food time to absorb heat from hotter areas of food. That extra minute or two could mean the difference between a delicious meal and food poisoning.
      • After waiting a few minutes, check the food with a food thermometer to make sure it is 165ºF or above.

    4. Chill - Refridgerate Promptly

    • Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours.
      • Pack your refrigerator with care. To properly chill food, cold air must be allowed to circulate in your fridge. It is important NOT to over-stuff your fridge.
      • Your refrigerator should be between 32ºF and 40ºF. Appliance thermometers help you know if the refrigerator is cold enough.
      • Get perishable foods into the refrigerator or freezer within two hours. In the summer months, cut this time down to one hour.
      • Store leftovers within two hours. By dividing leftovers into several clean, shallow containers, you will help them to chill faster.
    • Never thaw or marinate foods on the counter.
      • Thaw in the refrigerator. This is the safest way to thaw meat, poultry and seafood.
      • Thaw in cold water. For faster thawing, put frozen package in a watertight plastic bag and submerge it in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. If you thaw this way, be sure to cook the food immediately.
      • Thaw in the microwave. Faster thawing can also be done in the microwave. Simply follow the instructions in your owner's manual. As with thawing in cold water, food thawed in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
      • Cook without thawing. If you do not have enough time to thaw food, remember it is safe to cook frozen food-but your cooking time will be approximately 50% longer than fully thawed meat or poultry.
    • To marinate food safely, always marinate in the refrigerator.
    • Know when to throw food out. You cannot tell just by looking or smelling whether harmful bacteria has started growing in your leftovers or refrigerated foods. Be sure to throw food out before harmful bacteria grown by checking the USDA's Safe Storage Times chart.

    File a Complaint if you have sanitation concerns about a resturant or food facility. For assistance with services, email hhsmail@montgomerycountymd.gov

    Various Meats and Vegetables that have been grilled to perfection - Summer Food Safety

    Summer Food Safety GUIDELINES

    1. Keep hot foods HOT
    After cooking meat or chicken on the grill, keep it at 135⁰ F or warmer until serving. If reheating fully cooked items such as baked beans or hot potato salad, heat to 165⁰F.
    2. Keep cold foods COLD
    Keep cold foods at 41⁰ F or colder at all times. If using a cooler, keep it out of the sun and avoid opening it too often so it stays as cold as possible.
    3. Cook foods to at least 145⁰ F
    Cook pork to at least 155-160⁰ F, ground beef to 155-160⁰ F, poultry to 165⁰ F, stuffing and stuffed meat to at least
    165⁰ F. Hot foods should always be served while still hot.
    4. Cook ground beef THOROUGHLY
    Cook hamburger patties and meat loaf so that the center is NOT PINK and the juices run clear. Crumbled ground beef should be cooked until no pink color remains.
    5. Transporting COLD foods
    Transport cold foods in a cooler to minimize bacteria growth. Use an insulated cooler with ice packs.
    6. Refridgerate COLD foods
    When making cold salads and sandwiches—or any food served cold—refrigerate all ingredients (below 41° F) before mixing, and then return to the refrigerator until served.
    7. CLEAN
    Thoroughly clean and sanitize utensils and cutting surfaces between the preparation of different food items, especially after handling raw poultry, beef, pork and eggs.
    8. RAW Food Handling
    All raw foods have surface bacteria that could contaminate other foods. Never put cooked meat on the same unwashed platter used for raw meat.
    9. Damaged Foods
    Do not buy or use cracked eggs.
    10. Thawing MEATS & POULTRY
    Do not thaw meat and poultry at room temperature. To keep the outside of these foods cold while the inside is still defrosting, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator or under cold running water. Microwave ovens can be used to safely defrost meat and poultry, but cook immediately.
    11. Storing & Reheating Leftover Foods
    Promptly refrigerate leftovers. Store food in shallow uncovered containers to cool rapidly. Reheat leftovers thoroughly
    (165° F or more) before serving.

    To find out more about the benefits of Polyunsaturated Fat and Monounsaturated Fat visit the American Heart Association on the web.