Basic Food Safety
Keep It Clean
Wash Your Hands Often
Wash before and during cooking, especially after touching raw meat and poultry.
Sanitize Your Sink
Hot, soapy water is effective at eliminating bacteria, but for added insurance, clean these areas frequently with a solution of 1 tablespoon bleach per quart of water.
Clean Your Sponges
A paper towel or dishcloth is preferred, but if you use a sponge, disinfect it. Boiling it for 5 minutes works perfectly.
Clean and Sanitize Your Cutting Boards
Scrub with hot, soapy water. Wooden boards should never go through the dishwasher, but some boards are dishwasher-safe.
Avoid the Danger Zone
Defrost in the Refrigerator
Never defrost on a counter where the temperature is higher and bacteria can multiply rapidly. Always place food on a plate or in a bowl while defrosting to prevent a liquid from coming in contact with other foods. Count on about 5 hours per pound of food for defrosting.
Cool on the Counter, Not in the Refrigerator
Don’t put hot foods in the refrigerator right after cooking. This will cause the temperature in the refrigerator to rise, potentially creating an environment for bacteria. Cool food on the counter for about an hour, until it reaches 80 to 90 degrees, then put it in the refrigerator.
Don’t let leftover food come slowly to a simmer. Make sure the reheated food reaches a temperature of at least 165 degrees, using an instant-read thermometer to determine when they’re at the right temperature.
Handle Foods Carefully
Separate Raw and Cooked Foods
Never place cooked food on a plate or cutting board that has come into contact with raw food, and wash any utensil that comes in contact with raw food before reusing it.
Don’t Rinse Raw Meat and Poultry
The only exception to this is brined food, which needs to be rinsed before cooking. In this case, once the brined food is rinsed, make sure to clean and sanitize the sink and any surrounding areas.
To avoid contamination, grind pepper into a clean small bowl and then mix it with salt (a ratio of 1 parts pepper to 4 parts kosher salt). You reach into the bowl for seasoning without having to wash your hands every time. Then place the empty bowl in the dishwasher.