Safe Preparation, Cooking and Storing of Your Meals



  • Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before handling food.
  • Use plastic or other non-porous cutting boards. Wooden cutting boards can absorb juices, making them hard to clean thoroughly.
  • Never put cooked food or food to be eaten uncooked (such as salads) on surfaces where uncooked meat has been prepared.
  • Wash and sanitize your hands, tools, and preparation surfaces after coming in contact with uncooked meat.
  • Use paper towels to clean kitchen preparation surfaces instead of cloth; you can then throw the soiled paper towel away.
  • Keep food away from cleaning chemicals, poisons and pesticides. Temperature is very important. Use a meat thermometer to check temperatures of meat to ensure accuracy.



  • Covered food takes longer to cook in the oven.
  • Allow space between pieces in baking pans.
  • More pieces in the pan will take longer to cook.
  • Cook chicken until juices run clear and to recommended internal cooking temperature: light meat 170 degrees and dark meat to 180 degrees, beef to desired temperature—135 degrees for rare, 145 degrees for medium rare, 160 degrees well—and pork 150 degrees. You don’t need to worry about trichinosis, because it is killed at 137degrees. Always cook ground chicken and beef to 165-170 degrees internal temperatures.
  • Large pieces of meat will continue to cook when removed from the oven; take out when the temperature is about 5-10 degrees less than desired result.
  • Bring sauces, soups, and gravy to a boil when reheating.
  • If you plan to use a marinade to baste while cooking, divide the marinade into two separate containers. Use half to marinate and half to baste. Do not reuse the liquid used for marinating to baste your meats, unless you bring them to a rolling boil for 2 minutes.


  • If you plan on food remaining out in a serving situation for an extended period, be sure to maintain the temperature appropriate to the dish. Use warming pans or ice dishes to keep food out of the spoilage zone. Check the food’s temperature often to make sure it’s okay. The temperature range between 40 degrees and 140 degrees is considered to be thezone where food spoilage is most likely to occur. Food should only be kept in this temperature range for two hours or should be refrigerated for later use and reheated if needed.
  • Following these rules will insure that your family’s food is as wholesome as it can be.