Food Safety Tips

By Mindy Crockett

We love to find new recipes and try our skill at cooking.  What most recipes do not include is common food safety and preparation tips. Following these guidelines can prevent most occurrences of food poisoning.

food safety


  • Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food. 
  •  Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. After cutting raw meats, wash cutting board, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water. 
  •  Cutting boards, utensils, and countertops can be sanitized by using a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water. 
  •  Marinate meat and poultry in a covered dish in the refrigerator. 
  •  A food thermometer is the only implement that can tell if food is cooked to a safe temperature to destroy illness-causing bacteria. Thermometers can be purchased at the grocery, the hardware store or specialty cooking stores.
  • A food timer can let the chef know when to check for doneness and it can keep track of how long perishables have been left at room temperature.


  • Hot food should be held at 140° F or warmer. 
  • Cold food should be held at 40° F or colder. 
  • When serving food at a buffet, keep food hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small serving trays and replace them often. 
  • Perishable food should not be left out more than two hours at room temperature (one hour when the temperature is above 90° F).


  • Discard any food left out at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the temperature was above 90° F). 
  • Place food into shallow containers and immediately put in the refrigerator or freezer for rapid cooling. 
  •  Use cooked leftovers within 4 days. 
  •  Reheat leftovers to 165° F.