Food Safety Facts
General Food Safety Tips for Preparing Food
Jason Bolton, Ph.D. Assistant Extension Professor for Food Safety, University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Beth Calder Ph.D., Extension Food Science Specialist & Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition University of Maine.
This fact sheet is intended to help prevent foodborne illness when preparing and serving food at home.
Keep it Clean
Do Not Cross-Contaminate
Cross-contamination can transfer bacteria from raw to cooked foods and can increase the risk of foodborne illness.
Cook to Proper Temperatures
In order to ensure food safety, foods need to be cooked to recommended internal cooking temperatures to kill harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. (Please, see table below.)
|USDA recommended temperatures for cooked meat|
|Food||Safe internal temperatures|
|Beef, veal, and lamb steaks and roasts||145° F|
|Fish & shellfish||145° F|
|Pork (cuts)||145° F|
|Ground Meat (beef, veal, pork, sausages and lamb)||160° F|
|Egg dishes||160° F|
|Chicken, turkey, duck (whole, pieces, and ground)||165° F|
|Ham (Fresh or smoked, uncooked)||145° F|
|Ham (Fully cooked)||USDA inspected -140° F
All others – 165° F
The best way to check the internal temperature of a meat patty is to insert the meat thermometer halfway into the side of the patty.
Cool or Freeze Foods
- Submerging food in cold water (50° F or below).
- Place food in the refrigerator.
- Microwave, but foods should be immediately cooked after defrosting.
References and Further Resources
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives,” www.cdc.gov/handwashing/
USDA FSIS, “Is it Done Yet,” www.fsis.usda.gov/is_it_done_yet/brochure_text/index.asp#SMIT
USDA FSIS, “Keep Food Safe! Food Safety Basics,” www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Keep_Food_Safe_Food_Safety_Basics/index.asp
Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.
Published and distributed in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the USDA provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.
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Image Description: illustration showing a meat patty with meat thermometer inserted halfway into the side