Food safety helps keep food at its freshest, reduces food waste, and prevents food poisoning. September is National Food Safety Education Month and it's a great time to learn (and practice!) the basics to keep your food safe.

Step 1: Clean

  • Wash all produce thoroughly under running water
  • Even if you do not plan to eat the skin, it is still important to wash produce first so dirt and bacteria are not transferred from the surface when peeling or cutting produce.

Step 2: Separate

  • Step 2 actually starts in your shopping cart! Keep produce separate from meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs in shopping carts and bags.
  • When you get home, keep produce and other ready-to-eat foods in a separate area of the refrigerator from meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.

Step 3: Cook

  • Check the temperature! Make sure food is cooked to a safe internal temperature before you eat it. Not sure what the correct temperature is? Here's a quick reminder:
  • Poultry should be cooked to 165° F.
  • Ground meat, meat mixtures, and egg dishes should be cooked to 160° F.
  • Beef, pork, ham, should be cooked to 145° F and allowed to rest for three minutes.
  • Fish and seafood should be cooked to 145° F.

Step 4: Chill

  • Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables within 2 hours of purchasing or cooking (or 1 hour if kept in air temperatures above 90° F).
  • Never thaw food on your countertop! For defrosting, stick to using the fridge, immersing food in cold water or using cold running water, or thaw during cooking, such as thawing in the microwave and immediately cooking