Protect Yourself From Foodborne Illness


Don't buy food in damaged containers.

  • Don't buy cans or glass jars with dents, cracks, or bulging lids. This can be a sign the food contains food poisoning organisms.

Cold Storage:

Keep perishable food cold!

  • Refrigerate perishable food as soon as you get home from the store.
  • Check temperature by using an appliance thermometer to make sure the refrigerator registers 40° F or lower. The freezer should register 0° F or lower.
  • Store canned goods in a cool, dry place for use within a year. Never put them above the stove, under the sink or in a garage or damp basement.


Don't thaw on the counter.

  • Bacteria grow quickly at room temperature. Thaw food in refrigerator the night before or in the microwave just before cooking.

Food Preparation:

Keep work areas clean; cook thoroughly.

  • Wash hands, utensils and cutting boards in hot, soapy water before preparing food and after handling raw meat or poultry.
  • Use a plastic cutting board instead of a wooden one. Bacteria can hide in grooves on wooden boards and multiply.
  • Cook meat thoroughly, to at least 160° F. Red meat is done when it's brown or gray inside. Poultry juices run clear; fish flakes with a fork.
  • Cook eggs thoroughly. Do not eat raw eggs, or cake batter and salad dressing containing raw egg.

Serving Food and Handling Leftovers:

Never leave food at room temperature over 2 hours.

  • Promptly refrigerate food after meals, don't just let it sit out on the table or counter. Divide food into small containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.
  • Remove stuffing from poultry, or other meats, and refrigerate separately.
  • For buffets, keep cold food on ice or use small serving dishes and replenish from the refrigerator. For hot foods, use a heating dish or re-heat small servings from the refrigerator and replenish the buffet.

Taken from"Healthy Heart Snack Choices," a facts sheet from the Cornell Cooperative Extension; Cornell University, Plainview, New York