It's Safe Food — Keep It Safe In Your Home

Harmful microorganisms, or the toxins they produce, can cause us to become ill.  Ways to prevent foodborne illness include:

  • Wash hands to prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms on food.
  • Clean and sanitize work areas, surfaces, and equipment after each use to prevent contamination from harmful bacteria.
  • Use different containers for each food item and keep foods separated (especially raw and cooked items) to prevent the transfer of harmful bacteria from one food to another.
  • Keep foods out of the DANGER ZONE (40°F to 140°F).  Harmful bacteria multiply very rapidly between these temperatures.
  • Thaw foods in a refrigerator or submerged in cold water to prevent the product temperature from reaching the danger zone.
  • Heat all potentially hazardous foods to 145°F or above.  Exceptions:
    • poultry, any stuffed meats, and stuffing should reach at least 165°F.
    • ground beef patties should be cooked to 160°F.
  • Cool foods rapidly in the refrigerator or surrounded by cold water.
  • Use small, flat containers.
  • Cut bulky foods into smaller pieces before refrigerating.
  • Do not let food sit at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
  • Reheat foods rapidly to 165°F.


Prepared by:   Sue Snider, Ph.D.

Professor/Food Safety & Nutrition Specialist

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

Disclaimer: Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension or bias against those not mentioned.