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When preparing food at home, you can take actions to help keep yourself, your family, and your guests safe from foodborne illness ("food poisoning").

Keep It Hot

  • If you are preparing food for an event, cook the food the day of the event if at all possible.
  • Cook potentially hazardous foods (“PHFs,” which include meats, stews, soups, gravy, sauces, cooked pasta, cooked rice, etc.) to a safe internal temperature; use a metal probe thermometer to check that meats reach the following safe final cooking temperatures:
    • Poultry: 165°F
    • Ground Beef: 155°F
    • Pork: 145°F
    • Hot Dogs: 135°F
  • Hot-hold PHFs at or above 135°F.

Keep It Cold

  • Cold-hold PHFs (including cut leafy greens, cut tomatoes, and cut melons) at or below 41°F.
  • If you are cooking PHFs a day or more in advance of an event, then cool from 135°F to 70°F within 2 hours and from 70°F to 41°F within 4 hours (use a metal probe thermometer to verify cooling temperatures).
  • More information on cooling foods safely can be found here.

Keep it Clean

  • Wash your hands with soap often (before, during, and after food preparation). Wash the front and back of hands, between fingers and under fingernails, and all the way up to the wrist for 20 seconds. 
  • Use utensils with handles, paper napkins, wax paper, and/or disposable gloves when handling ready-to-eat foods.
  • Ensure all food-contact surfaces and equipment are clean (wash, rinse, and sanitize with bleach and water—½ teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water).
  • Separate raw meats, poultry, and seafood from produce and ready-to-eat foods.

Keep It Healthy

  • Ensure household members do not have symptoms of stomach illness (vomiting or diarrhea) for a minimum of 72 hours prior to preparing foods.

More Information

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