Any type of raw meat can have harmful germs on it that can make you sick if mishandled. That’s why it’s so important to follow proper food safety steps when handling, cooking and serving meat to prevent illness.

Wash hands and surfaces often

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. This is especially true after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets.
  • Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to handling the next food item.
  • Consider using paper towels to clean up surfaces. If you use cloth towels wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water after handling raw meat.

Don’t cross-contaminate

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods.
  • Keep different kinds of raw animal-based foods separate.
  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate or area that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or raw vegetables.

Cook to the safe internal temperature

  • Use a food thermometer which measures the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry and egg dishes to make sure that food is cooked to a safe internal temperature.
  • Cook pork roasts and steaks to a minimum of 145° F followed by a 3-minute rest time prior to eating. Check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the food.

Refrigerate promptly

  • Refrigerate or freeze meat as soon as possible. Keep cold food at 40° F or below in a refrigerator or under ice and keep hot food at 135° F or above.
  • Never let raw meat sit at room temperature for more than two hours before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Food must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.

General practices

  • Do not cook for others if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Restaurant or other food establishment workers who are sick with symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea should stay home for at least a full 24 hours after getting better.