Food Safety: Preparing - Topic Overview
Wash your hands often and prepare foods properly to reduce
the risk of
How to wash your hands
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
recommends the following steps for hand-washing:
- Wash your hands with hot running water and
soap. Children should use warm running water.
- Rub your hands
together for at least 20 seconds.
- Pay special attention to your
wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your
- Leave the water running while you dry your hands on a
- Use the paper towel as a barrier between the faucet
and your clean hands when you turn off the water.
If soap and water are not available, use
gel hand sanitizers or alcohol-based hand wipes
containing 60% to 90% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol. Most supermarkets and
drugstores carry these products. Carry one or both with you when you travel,
and keep them in your car or purse.
When you use the gel sanitizer,
rub your hands until the gel is dry. You don't need to use water. The alcohol
in the gel kills the germs on your hands.
When to wash your hands
Wash your hands
- Touching bare human body parts other than clean
hands and clean, exposed parts of your arms.
- Using the
- Coughing, sneezing, or using a handkerchief or disposable
- Eating, drinking, or using tobacco (for example,
- Handling soiled kitchen utensils or
- Handling other soiled or contaminated utensils or
- Handling or preparing foods, especially after touching
raw meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, or eggs.
- Changing diapers,
handling garbage, using the phone, shaking hands, or playing with pets.
Prepare foods properly
- Keep raw meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and
shellfish away from other foods, surfaces, utensils, and serving
- Do not wash or rinse raw meat and poultry. Washing or
rinsing meat and poultry makes it more likely that bacteria will spread from
the meat or poultry to kitchen utensils, countertops, and ready-to-eat
- If possible, use two cutting boards—one for fresh produce
and the other for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Otherwise, be sure to wash
the cutting board with hot, soapy water between each use. You can also wash
your knives and cutting boards in the dishwasher to disinfect them. Replace
cutting boards when they have become worn or have developed hard-to-clean
- Keep kitchen surfaces clean with hot, soapy water. Wash
dishcloths and towels often in the hot cycle of your washing
- Wash raw fruits and vegetables under running water before
- Marinate foods in a covered dish in the refrigerator, not on the
- Never thaw frozen meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish at
room temperature. Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave. If you thaw food in
the refrigerator, be sure juices do not drip onto other food. Place these foods
on the lowest shelf, never above ready-to-eat foods.
- Cook food
immediately after thawing.