Food Safety Tips

Another week has gone by and each day I feel a small step in the right direction in my recovery from surgery. This week I have follow-up visits with my surgeon and my primary. I thank you all for your sweet comments.

Here in the USA, the Federal government estimates that there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually resulting in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. After eating bad food, sickness can occur within 20 minutes up to 6 weeks later. Symptoms of foodborne illness can include: vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain as well as flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and body ache.

Taking safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storing are necessary to prevent illness. You can’t see bacteria that may be on your kitchen sink, counter, or knife. Always remember the four steps to prevent spread of germs:

  1. Clean — Wash hands and surfaces often.
  2. Separate — Don’t cross-contaminate.
  3. Cook — Cook to proper temperatures, checking with a food thermometer.
  4. Chill — Refrigerate promptly.


Because bacteria are everywhere, cleanliness is a major factor in preventing food poison. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds:

  • before and after handling food
  • after using the bathroom
  • after changing a diaper
  • after handling pets
  • after tending to a sick person
  • after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • after handling uncooked eggs or raw meat, poultry, or fish and their juices.

If your hands have any kind of skin abrasion or infection, always use clean disposable gloves. Wash hands (gloved or not) with warm, soapy water. Thoroughly wash everything that come in contact with raw meat, poultry, fish, and eggs with hot, soapy water before startng food preparation. Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use dishcloths, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine. Keep other surfaces, such as faucets and counter tops, clean by washing with hot, soapy water.

Don’t use the same platter and utensils that held the raw meat to serve the cooked dish. Any bacteria present in the raw meat or juices can contaminate the safely cooked product. Serve cooked food on clean plates, using clean utensils and clean hands. When using a food thermometer, it is important to wash the probe after each use with hot, soapy water before reinserting it into a food. Keep pets, household cleaners, and other chemicals away from food and surfaces used for food. When picnicking or cooking outdoors, take plenty of clean utensils. Pack clean, dry, and wet and soapy cloths for cleaning surfaces and hands.


Separate raw meats from other foods

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags, and refrigerator.
  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs unless the plate has been washed in hot, soapy water.
  • Don’t reuse marinades used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first.


Cook to the right temperature

  • Color and texture are unreliable indicators of safety. Using a food thermometer is the only way to ensure the safety of meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products for all cooking methods. These foods must be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria.
  • Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Only use recipes in which eggs are cooked or heated thoroughly.
  • When cooking in a microwave oven, cover food, stir, and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking. Always allow standing time, which completes the cooking, before checking the internal temperature with a food thermometer.
  • Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating.

Storing food safely

  1. Chill leftovers and take out food within two hours.
  2. Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer. The refrigerator should be at 40°F or below and the freezer at 0°F or below.
  3. Cook or freeze poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats (meat that is not cut from a standard muscle) within 2 days; other beef, veal, lamb, or pork cuts within 3 to 5 days.
  4. Perishable food such as meat and poultry should be wrapped securely to maintain quality and prevent meat juices from getting onto other food.
  5. To maintain quality when freezing meat and poultry in its original package, wrap the package again with foil or plastic wrap.
  6. Canned foods are safe as long as they are not exposed to freezing temperatures. Discard cans that are dented, rusted, or swollen. High-acid canned food (tomatoes, fruit) will keep their best quality for 12 to 18 months; low-acid canned food (meats, vegetables) for 2 to 5 years.

I hope this little review of safe food handling has been helpful. I’m wishing you a beautiful evening that’s perfect for a healthy family meal.

For more information see:

Basics for Handling Food Safety. United States Department of Agriculture. Accessed February 2, 2021. 

Cold Food Storage Chart, United States Department of Agriculture

Pet Food Safety, United States Department of Agriculture

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I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

23 thoughts to “Food Safety Tips”

  1. Good to hear that you are doing ok after your surgery Carol.

    I had very bad food poisoning 30 years ago and have been very careful about food hygiene and where and what I eat since. I’m especially careful when preparing chicken and eggs.


  2. Good advice, Carol! Food safety is definitely important! I am dismayed to read that listeria is often found in cheese and salmonella in fresh vegetables like spinach or lettuce or even flour. It really is a shame that we have no control over that and have to hope companies do the right things providing uncontaminated foods to the public.

  3. With my son in culinary school learning all the food safe handling procedures he’s been drilling them into us at home too– another big one is not thawing meats/ seafood on the counter!

  4. Carol, my daughter AmyLynn who has advance autism is a great person but washes her hands far to much even to have raw, red hands but she’s serious about
    We love it but her hands are bothering us. She will always protect herself. Oh well.
    Have a great day my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

    1. anything can become bad when done to excess like hand washing or drinking water – has she tried wearing gloves?

  5. Very good advice and information on food handling. I have had three food poisoning incidents in my life, all from eating when traveling. It was horrible! I am super-conscientious about such things, and am very, very careful when handling food, even to the point of being a bit obsessive-compulsive. Your post is going to be bookmarked for future reference and refreshers on food safety. Thank you Carol and I do hope you are feeling better after your surgery.

    1. I’ve had food poisoning several times in my life – it’s such a horrible experience. I pray we all stay healthy and smart.

  6. As a food blogger this is so worth reading and passing on to others. Thank you so much.
    I visited you via Spring Style and the TFT Blog Hop
    If you are not already part of SSPS, this is a personal invite to hop over and come and share your posts with us at Senior Salon Pit Stop, every Monday to Saturday.
    See my entries: 37+38+39 and then navigate to the bottom of my page for the Senior Salon Pit Stop linkup, we hope to meet you there virtually.

  7. Great advice Carol. Food poisoning is so very painful. Isn’t it something that in today’s world we still have to remind adults to wash their hands. I was amazed at how many were bothered by that during the pandemic. I was like…were you not washing your hands before. 🙂 As always, thank you for sharing at #aclwcc. Pinned and Tweeted.

  8. Great tips Carol. It’s so important to be careful when it comes to food handling. I have to admit that I like my eggs soft boiled and runny. But I might have to rethink that and be more careful.

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