Food Safety Smarts
Use these tools and tips to help prevent food poisoning.
Your kitchen is filled with food safety tools that, when used properly, can help keep you and your loved ones healthy. Learn how to make the most of these tools so that your kitchen is your home's food safety headquarters.
Get CDC information on keeping your family's food safe that you can use year-round.
Gear Up for Food Safety
Choose and use these kitchen tools and tips every time you prepare food to help prevent food poisoning.
Keeping your hands clean [702 KB] is one of the most important things you can do to prevent food poisoning.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and running water. Scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before peeling. Germs can spread from the outside to the inside of fresh produce as you cut or peel.
- Do not wash raw meat, poultry, or eggs. Washing these foods can actually spread germs because juices may splash onto your sink or counters.
Cutting board and utensils
- Use separate cutting boards, plates, and knives for produce and for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
- Clean with hot, soapy water or in dishwasher (if dishwasher-safe) after each use.
- All poultry, including ground: 165°F
- Ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal: 160°F
- Beef, pork, lamb, and veal chops, roasts and steaks: 145°F
- Fish: 145°F
- Use a food thermometer to make sure food cooked in the oven or on the stove top or grill reaches a temperature hot enough to kill germs.
- Know your microwave's wattage. Check inside the door, owner's manual, or manufacturer's website. Lower wattage means longer cooking time.
- Follow recommended cooking and standing times, to allow for additional cooking after microwaving stops. Letting food sit for a few minutes after microwaving allows cold spots to absorb heat from hotter areas and cook more completely.
- When reheating, use a food thermometer to make sure that microwaved food reaches 165°F.
- Keep your refrigerator between 40˚F and 32˚F, and your freezer at 0˚F or below.
- Refrigerate fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, and meats within 2 hours. (Refrigerate within 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90ºF.)
- Divide warm foods into several clean, shallow containers so they will chill faster.
- Store raw meat on the bottom shelf away from fresh produce and ready-to-eat food.
- Throw out foods left unrefrigerated for over 2 hours.
- Thaw or marinate foods in the refrigerator.
Computer or mobile devices
Now that you're geared up for food safety, take our quiz to test your know-how on kitchen tools and tips to prevent food poisoning.
- Page last reviewed: February 24, 2017
- Page last updated: February 24, 2017
- Content source:
- National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs