Good food safety practices are critical to preventing the spread of bacteria and foodborne illness.
It is a good idea to follow these steps to keep food safe:
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom.
- Wash food preparation surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after preparing foods.
- Consider using paper towels to clean up. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of a washing machine.
- Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under cold running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Do not use soap or detergent.
- Rub firm-skinned fruits and vegetables under running tap water, or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water.
- Keep books, backpacks, and shopping bags off work surfaces where food is prepared or served.
**Remember to refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Do not over-stuff the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate to help keep foods safe. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the temperature is consistently 40 degrees F or below. The freezer temperature should be 0 degrees F or below.