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Cooking Safety

Cooking Safety

Steps to keeping food safe

Every year millions of people become sick from food-borne illnesses. This may sound scary, but there are simple steps you can take to keep you and your family safe.

Follow these 4 steps to keep food safe to eat.

  • Clean: Wash hands, counter tops and cutting boards often.
  • Separate: Do not “cross-Contaminate”. Use a separate cutting board for raw meat.
  • Cook: Cook to the right temperature and use a food thermometer.
  • Chill: Put food away in the refrigerator right away.  Do not let food sit out on the counter.

More details about how to keep you and your family safe at Choose MyPlate: 4 Steps to Food Safety (English) | 4 Steps to Food Safety (Spanish)

Bacteria, virus or fungus can grow on food and make it unsafe to eat. There are some foods grow very quickly on.

Some are listed here:

  • Milk and milk products
  • Cooked rice or beans
  • Raw eggs
  • Lemons, sliced melons
  • Meat, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish
  • Baked or boiled potatoes

Cooking in batches and saving leftovers can be a helpful way to save time, money, and food waste. Making sure your leftovers are stored safely helps to prevent food poisoning and keeps mealtime safe.

Learn more about how to keep leftovers safe and ready to enjoy.

Leftovers and Food Safety (English) (Link to

Have you or someone you know had a food-borne illness?

Getting sick from unsafe food is no fun. It might feel like the flu, but it is caused by bacteria in your food.


Look for these symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Cramping

People most at risk

These people need to be extra careful to make sure that their food is safe to eat.

  • Babies and preschool-age children
  • Pregnant women
  • Elderly people
  • People who are ill
  • People taking certain medicine