The United States Food and Drug Administration recommends the following regarding food safety

Your first steps in food safety are...

  • Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, and utensils (including knives), and countertops with soap and hot water after they come in contact with raw meat, poultry or seafood.


Kitchen countertops that come in contact with raw meat, poultry, and seafood can be sanitized using a kitchen sanitizer. One teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach per quart of clean water can also be used to sanitize surfaces. Leave the bleach solution on the surface for about 10 minutes to be effective.


Improper handling of raw meat, poultry, and seafood can set the stage for cross-contamination - the spread of bacteria from foods, hands, utensils, and food preparation surfaces to another food. Here's how to stop it:

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from ready-to-eat foods in your grocery shopping cart, refrigerator, and while preparing and handling foods at home. Also, consider placing these raw foods inside plastic bags in your grocery shopping cart to keep the juices contained.
  • To prevent juices from raw meat, poultry, or seafood from dripping onto other foods in the refrigerator, place these raw foods in sealed containers or sealable plastic bags.
  • If possible, use one cutting board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood and another one for fresh fruits and vegetables. If two cutting boards aren't available, prepare fruits and vegetables first, and put them safely out of the way. Wash the cutting board thoroughly with soap and hot water. Then, prepare the raw meat, poultry, or seafood. Follow by washing the cutting board again.
  • Marinades used on raw meat, poultry, or seafood can contain harmful bacteria. Don't reuse these marinades on cooked foods - unless you boil them before applying.
  • Never taste uncooked marinade or sauce that was used to marinate raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
    Place cooked food on a clean plate for serving. If cooked food is placed on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood, bacteria from the raw food could contaminate the cooked food.


To keep all meats, poultry, and food in general safe...

  • Your refrigerator should register at 40° F (4° C) and the freezer at 0° F (-18° C). Place a refrigerator thermometer in the refrigerator, and check the temperature periodically. During the automatic defrost cycle, the temperature may register slightly higher than 40° F (4° C). This is okay.

When storing seafood...

  • Buy only fresh seafood that's refrigerated or properly iced.
  • Refrigerate or freeze seafood immediately if you're not going to cook it right away.


Raw fish (such as sushi or sashimi) or foods made with raw fish are more likely to contain parasites or bacteria than foods made from cooked fish, so it's important to cook fish thoroughly. Here's how...


Finfish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145° F (63° C). When a food thermometer is not available or appropriate, follow these tips to determine when seafood is done:

  • Cook fish until it's opaque (milky white) and flakes with a fork.
  • Cook shrimp, lobster, and scallops until they reach their appropriate color. The flesh of shrimp and lobster should be an opaque (milky white) color. Scallops should be opaque (milky white) and firm.
  • Cook clams, mussels, and oysters until their shells open. This means that they are done. Throw away the ones that didn't open.

Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures. Always use a clean food thermometer to check the internal temperature of these foods. Make sure it goes straight into meats, but doesn't come out the other side and touch the pan. Cook meat and poultry to these temperatures:


  • Cook beef, veal, and lamb roasts and steaks to at least 145° F (63° C).
  • Cook pork roasts and chops to at least 160° F (71° C).

Ground Meat

  • Cook ground beef, veal, lamb, and pork to at least 160° F (71° C).
  • Cook ground poultry to 165° F (74° C).


  • Cook all poultry to minimal safe internal temperature of 165° F (74° C).
  • Consumers may wish to cook poultry to a higher temperature for personal preference.


  • Cook pork to an internal temperature of 160° F (71° C) for medium or 170° F (77° C) for well done.


USDA Food Safety Education