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Food safety

Do you love good food? Well, germs do, too! You can’t tell if food has gone bad just by looking at it or smelling it, so follow food safety rules.

Here are four steps to help avoid food poisoning:


  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing food. Wash your hands immediately after you handle raw meat, fish, or poultry.
  • Wash dishes and other items used to prepare food, such as knives, cutting boards, and counters. Wash them with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.
  • Rinse fruits and veggies even if you’re going to peel them. Scrub firm ones like potatoes, cucumbers, and melons with a produce brush.
  • Don’t wash raw chicken, eggs, and meat because washing them could make germs splash around your kitchen. Cooking these foods right is the best way to kill germs.

Cookie monster?
Beware of uncooked cookie dough. It can make you sick because of the uncooked eggs in it. You can read more about staying safe around different types of food, from eggs to chickens.


  • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from other foods to keep germs from spreading. Use bags in the store and containers or sealed bags in the fridge to keep them apart. Keep eggs in their carton (and not on the fridge door).
  • Use one cutting board just for fresh produce and other non-meat items. Use another one for raw meat, poultry, or seafood.


  • Cook food fully. Use a food thermometer to make sure you cook food at the right temperature. Check using the food temperature chart.
  • Keep food hot after you cook it. A heating tray or slow cooker works well.


  • Keep food cold to stop germs from growing. Don’t leave food out of the fridge for more than two hours. Make that one hour in the summertime.
  • Don’t thaw frozen food on the counter. The fridge or microwave is a good choice.
  • Remember that food goes bad in the fridge, too. Check a safe food storage chart that tells you when to toss.

Want more info on how to clean, separate, cook, and chill? Check out You can even get a free app that lets you ask questions if you’re at a picnic or market (or finding food in the backseat of your car).

Germs like bacteria can sneak into your food, but you can learn to fight BAC with this cool game. Click below to get started.

(Viewing the game below requires the Adobe Flash Player.)

screenshot from food safety mobile game


Content last reviewed April 15, 2014
Page last updated May 28, 2014