Food Handling and Preparation

Approximately 85% of all foodborne illness can be avoided with the appropriate precautions. Taking simple steps to choosing the best products, and preparing them properly are a good start to reducing the risk of contracting a foodborne illness.

Following these guidelines for food handling and preparation will ensure that you get the maximum value out of your food, as well as keep your food from coming into contact with harmful pathogens.

Food Handling and Preparation Guidelines

  • 1 Shop for non-perishables before getting produce and other perishables.
  • 2 Never purchase anything that has passed its expiration or “Sell by” date.
  • 3 Wrap meats in a plastic bag and tie them off so that they don’t leak on other groceries.
  • 4 Always wash hands thoroughly with warm soapy water before handling any foods.
  • 5 Avoid cross-contamination by keeping meats separate from all other foods (and each other).
  • 6 After handling any meat, wash the area thoroughly with warm, soapy water.
  • 7 Place cooked meat back onto a new, clean plate, not on a plate that contained raw meat.
  • 8 Never thaw meat on the counter, as bacteria can multiply rapidly there.
  • 9 Refrigerate foods within 2 hours of purchase (within 1 hour if above 90ºF).

Food Handling and Preparation Checklist

  • Food is refrigerated within 2 hours of purchase (1 hour if above 90 degrees).
  • Surfaces are washed immediately after contact with food.