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University of Illinois Extension

Four Simple Steps to Keep Food Safe

Four Simple Steps to Keep Food Safe


CLEAN: Wash Hands And Surfaces Often!

  • Wash hands and surfaces often!
  • Before any kitchen chore; wash hands with warm water for 20 seconds
  • Use gloves if you have a cut or infection
  • Wash countertops, cutting boards, appliances, and any kitchen utensils with hot soapy water before and after use
  • Sanitize food contact surfaces by mixing 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach to 1 quart water
  • Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces rather than sponges or cloths
  • If you use cloth towels or sponges, wash them in the hot cycle of your washing machine
  • If using a sponge, sanitize it daily by getting it damp and heating it in the microwave for one minute, or place the dirty sponge in the hot cycle of your washing machine and dry thoroughly on a high setting
  • Replace old and worn cutting boards


SEPARATE: Separate Raw Meats From Other Foods

  • Separate raw meats from other foods
  • Use a separate cutting board for fresh fruits/vegetables and raw meats
  • Always wash hands with hot soapy water and wash surfaces after touching raw food


COOK: Cook To The Right Temperature

  • Cook food to the proper temperature
  • Use a food thermometer to be sure it gets to the proper temperature


CHILL: Refrigerate Food Promptly

  • Refrigerate potentially hazardous food promptly
  • If not canning, freezing or dehydrating immediately, store most produce unwashed in refrigerator
  • Keep foods out of the Danger Zone (between 41°F to 135°F)
  • Refrigerate cut produce promptly
  • If freezing fresh produce to process or dehydrate later, make sure freezer is 0°F