What can I do at home to help protect my family from foodborne illness?

Individuals and their actions at home play an important role in food safety. To help prevent foodborne illness, food safety experts recommend the following four simple steps:

  1. Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often with hot, soapy water.
  2. Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood, and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods.
  3. Cook: Cook to proper temperatures; don’t rely on color alone. Remember to use a food thermometer to check if food is done. Thorough cooking is the most important step in preventing foodborne illness.
  4. Chill: Refrigerate promptly. The growth of harmful bacteria can be slowed or stopped by refrigeration or freezing. The refrigerator temperature should be kept at or below 40°F. The freezer should remain under 0°F at all times.

Show All Answers

1. What is foodborne disease?
2. What are the symptoms of foodborne illness?
3. Are some foods more likely to cause foodborne illness than others?
4. What foods are associated with foodborne illness?
5. How long after I eat contaminated food (or consume bacteria) will I become sick?
6. If I ate out at a local restaurant in my area and the next day I became ill, what should I do?
7. What can I do at home to help protect my family from foodborne illness?
8. How can a customer best assure safe food in a food establishment?
9. How are foodborne diseases diagnosed?
10. How long can I keep meat in my freezer?
11. How are foodborne diseases treated?
12. How does food become contaminated (made impure)?
13. Are some people more likely to contract a foodborne illness? If so, are there special precautions they should take?
14. Does hot water kill bacteria?
15. Does freezing destroy bacteria and parasites?
16. How can a person prevent food poisoning?
17. Where can I learn more about food safety and foodborne diseases?
18. Where can I find information on Food Safety, Bacteria or Spoilage?