Food Safety Information
Take steps to prevent foodborne illnesses by making sure the food you eat is safely stored and prepared. One way to ensure food safety is through the prevention of cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when harmful bacteria spreads from one food to other foods.
Steps to Prevent Cross-contamination
Follow these steps recommended by U.S. Food Safety organizations:
- Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other food in shopping cart.
- Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in the refrigerator.
- Do not wash raw chicken or turkey.
- Use one cutting board or plate for raw meat, poultry, and seafood and a separate cutting board or plate for produce, bread, and other foods that won’t be cooked (ready-to-eat foods).
- If you only have one cutting board, cut produce, bread and other ready-to-eat foods first then wash cutting board with soap and hot water before cutting raw meat, poultry or seafood on it.
- Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after touching raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
- Wash your utensils, cutting boards, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
- If you marinate raw meat, poultry, or seafood and want to reuse that marinade on the food after it is cooked, bring marinade to a boil first.
- Keep cooked meat, poultry, and seafood on a separate plate from raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Four Steps to Food Safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill
- CDC Food Safety Education Month (FSEM)
- CDC FSEM Social Media Graphics
- CDC FSEM Social Media Messages
- USDA FSEM homepage
- FDA FSEM landing page in English and Spanish
- Consumers can contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline to speak to a live food expert at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time/7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pacific Time. Pre-recorded food safety messages are also available 24/7 in English and Spanish.
- For questions concerning dairy foods and shell eggs, produce, seafood, and processed foods, call FDA’s Food Information Line at 1-888-SAFE FOOD.