Four Steps to Food Safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill
Following four simple stepsexternal icon at home—Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill—can help protect you and your loved ones from food poisoning.
Bacteria can multiply rapidly if left at room temperature or in the “Danger Zone” between 40°F and 140°F. Never leave perishable food out for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if it’s hotter than 90°F outside).
- Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and know when to throw food outexternal icon.
- Refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours. (If outdoor temperature is above 90°F, refrigerate within 1 hour.)
- Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Never thaw foods on the counter, because bacteria multiply quickly in the parts of the food that reach room temperature.