Food Safety

Food Safety

Food safety means knowing how to avoid the spread of bacteria when you're buying, preparing, and storing food. Check out how to handle food safely to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Why Food Safety Matters

Food that hasn't been prepared safely may contain bacteria like E. coli. Unsafe food can also spread foodborne illnesses like salmonellosis and Campylobacter (pronounced: kam-pye-low-BAK-tur) infection.

The good news is that you can keep on top of bacteria and foodborne illness by playing it safe when buying, preparing, and storing food.

Start at the Supermarket

You have your shopping list in one hand and that shopping cart with the bad wheel in the other. But where should you start and how do you know which foods are safe? Take a peek at these tips:

Don't slow down your cart for these bad-news foods:

In the Kitchen

After a trip to the market, the first things you should put away are those that belong in the refrigerator and freezer. Keep eggs in the original carton on a shelf in the fridge (most refrigerator doors don't keep eggs cold enough).

Ready to cook but not sure how quickly things should be used, how long they should cook, or what should be washed? Here are some important guidelines:

Clean Up

Even though the kitchen might look clean, your hands, the countertops, and the utensils you use could still contain lots of bacteria that you can't even see. Yuck!

To prevent the spread of bacteria while you're preparing food:

Storing Leftovers Safely

Your dinner was a success and you're lucky to have some to enjoy later. Here are some tips on handling leftovers:

Microwave Magic

It's easy to make magic with your microwave — you can heat up or defrost stuff in an instant. Before touching that power button, be sure you know what you can microwave and how:

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: November 2014

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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Related Resources
OrganizationNational Safety Council The National Safety Council offers information on first aid, CPR, environmental health, and safety.
OrganizationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
OrganizationU.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.
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