Learn the Basics of Food Safety

Brush up on food safety practices during September’s National Food Safety Education Month.

September 06, 2019

SILVER SPRING, Md.—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 store’s food safe.

For fun and educational resources on food safety from the farm to the processor to the retailer to your table, check out the Partnership for Food Safety Education's Story of Your Dinner. You will find videos, delicious recipes, activities for kids, food prep tips, and helpful tips on each of the four steps for food safety below.

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 two hours of purchasing or cooking (or one hour if kept in air temperatures above 90° F).

For more information on food safety, visit the FDA’s Education Resource Library to download or order materials, and check out the newly redesigned www.foodsafety.gov, the main federal website for food safety information.