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Food Safety at Home

The Cooking Process

  • Frozen foods can be thawed in the microwave, under cold running water, or in the refrigerator.
  • Do NOT thaw food at room temperature.
Safe Marinating & Seasoning
  • Food Should not be marinated at room temperature. Marinate food in the refrigerator.
  • Marinating liquid can be used as a sauce only if it is brought to a rapid boil first, otherwise discard.
  • Never reuse seasonings or bread crumbs; once seasonings and bread crumbs come in contact with raw products, they must be discarded.
Minimum Internal Cooking Temperatures
  • 135ºF
    - Commercially processed foods for hold holding (e.g., canned soups, or vegetables)
  • 145ºF
    - Roasts
    - Steaks or Chops
    - Fish/Shellfish
    - Eggs for immediate service
  • 155ºF
    - Ground meat or fish
    - Eggs for hot holding
  • 165ºF
    - All poultry, including both ground and whole pieces
    - Stuffing and stuffed foods
    - Foods prepared in a microwave
    - Previously cooked foods being reheated for hot holding
Proper Reheating Procedures
  • Leftovers should be reheated to 165ºF or above before serving.
  • Food in hot holding must be maintained at or above 135ºF.


Cold Holding Temperatures
Food in cold holding must be maintained at or below 41ºF.


2-Hour Rule
When dealing with groceries, leftovers, doggie bags, and party platters, use the 2-hour rule.

Groceries should be put away within 2 hours of leaving the grocery store. In the summer months, in ONE hour after leaving the grocery store.

Cooked Leftovers should be put away within 2 hours.

Doggie bags from restaurants should be refrigerated within 2 hours of leaving the restaurant.

Party platters requiring refrigeration should be made on smaller dishes and rotated or replenished every 2 hours. Platters of food can also be placed on ice to help maintain safe temperatures.


Personal Cleanliness

Follow proper handwashing procedures and wash hands when needed:
  • After touching one's hair, body, or clothes
  • After using the restroom
  • After touching animals
  • After coughing, sneezing, eating, using tobacco, or drinking.
  • When changing between working with raw animal products and ready-to-eat products.
  • After doing any activity that may contaminate hands (e.g., taking out the trash or handling dirty tableware)


Avoid Cross Contamination

During Food Storage

Raw meats and eggs should be stored on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, away from leftovers and ready-to-eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables.


During Food Preparation

Always wash utensils and dishes after use with raw meat and eggs, and before use with other foods. Or, use separate equipment and utensils for each product. Wash your hands after handling raw meat or eggs.

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