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Food Saftey Tips

Raw Foods Can Harbor Nasty Bacteria

Nasty bacteria like e. coli and salmonella are found in many raw foods. So:

  • Don't let cooked foods touch the same surface as raw foods (especially raw meat, eggs, chicken). Wash everything that touches raw meat or eggs carefully in hot soapy water (or a dishwasher) before you use it again.
  • Don't thaw raw meats in the sink or on your counter; thaw in the refrigerator or microwave. Once raw meat has begun to thaw, do not re-freeze it.
  • Store raw, uncooked meat wrapped in something (such as a plastic bag) to avoid raw juices from contaminating other foods in your refrigerator.
  • Don't eat foods containing raw egg. This includes cookie dough and authentic Caesar salads made with raw egg!
  • Cook meats, pork and poultry well. You can purchase large roasts and meat-cuts with meat thermometers in them. Oth-erwise buy a meat thermometer and pay particular attention to the correct internal temperature of meat, to prevent food-borne illnesses.
  • Marinate meats in the fridge, not on the counter. Don't use uncooked, used marinade as a sauce on cooked meat.

Protect Yourself from Burns

  • Don't put metal in the microwave - not even aluminum, gold-rimmed dishes or twist ties. You could start a fire.
  • When heating liquids in the microwave, cover container with plastic wrap, but poke a few holes in the wrap so steam can escape.
  • If a fire starts, put a lid on the pan immediately to starve the fire of oxygen. Douse fires with an ABC fire extinguisher or baking soda (keep handy near stove). Never use flour to put out a fire. If in doubt, call the fire department.

When in Doubt, Throw it Out

Bacteria can easily grow on leftovers and even in canned goods. Don't take chances; retching all over your date or getting your stomach pumped isn't fun.

  • Don't use canned goods with bulged-out ends.
  • Pay attention to "sell-by" dates. It is generally safe to eat food for a day or two past the sell-by date. Pay attention to how a food looks and smells.
  • Meats should be cooked within two days of purchasing. Freeze any meat you won't eat within two days.
  • Refrigerate leftover foods quickly - always in less than two hours. If it's hot, or food is outside in the sun, even sooner is better.
  • If you are food shopping on a warm day, don't leave perish-able items in your car. Head right home after you shop, or bring a cooler with ice packs in the car.
  • Re-heat leftovers thoroughly, to kill any bacteria that may have started growing in the fridge.
  • Don't eat foods containing mold - unless they're SUPPOSED to contain mold (i.e. blue cheese, gorgonzola).

Scrub a Dub

  • Wash your hands well in hot, soapy water before you start cooking or handling food.
  • Keep food-prep surfaces clean and wash sponges and dish-cloths daily.
  • Always wash sharp knives separately. Don't throw them into a sink full of dirty dishes where they can lurk and surprise you.
  • Scrub fruits and vegetables well with a clean brush - even ones like melons where you won't eat the peel. (Bacteria on the surface can sneak inside on your knife when you cut them.) Wash non-scrubbable fruits (like berries) and vegetables (like mushrooms) with rapidly running water.