Food Safety

Protect Yourself and Your Family


What is the temperature danger zone?

The temperature danger zone is a range between 140°F and 40°F where bacteria can grow rapidly. It is important to limit the amount of time food spends at these unsafe temperatures. Illness can occur if a food is eaten after it has been left at an unsafe temperature too long.

Keep hot foods above 140°F and cold foods below 40°F


Keep an eye out for these foods!  

Foods that have the ideal environment for bacteria growth should be kept out of the temperature danger zone. They are known as potentially hazardous foods.

  • Meats, Poultry and Seafood
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Melon and Figs
  • Raw garlic in oil
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Cooked- rice, beans, pasta


Thawing, Cooling and Reheating Food…the right way!


Use these simple techniques to properly thaw your meat, poultry and seafood


  • Submerge bagged food in a cool water bath
  • Monitor bath making sure water stays cool, replacing it when needed
  • Cook!


  • Place in fridge until thawed
  • Use when ready!


Improper cooling of food is the most common cause of foodborne illness. After food is properly cooked it needs to return to 40°F within 2 hours. There are many ways to quickly cool food to prevent bacteria growth:

  • Use shallow containers no larger than 2 inches to store food
  • Allow hot food, in shallow containers, to have air circulation for 20-30minutes before placing it in the fridge


Reheated food needs to return to an internal temperature of 165°F. Stirring food throughout the reheating process will ensure heat is evenly dispersed. Food is done when it is steamy and feels hot!

What is the correct way to wash fruits and veggies?

Just running your produce under water won’t do! Use these easy and effective steps:

  • Remove any outer leaves, stems or stickers
  • Place under clean, running water
  • Scrub with clean brush or hand, use produce wash found at your local grocery store for an extra clean
  • Dry produce with clean paper towel or cloth
  • Cut away any bruised or damaged areas
  • Enjoy or store!

Decoding the Date

  • Sell by Date

This is the day the product will be removed from the grocery store shelf. The food has gone bad yet but should be purchased before this date.

  • Best if used By Date:

This is the day the product begins losing flavor and quality. It does not mean the product is unsafe to consume, but will continue to lose quality until it expires.

  • Use by Date: the day the product expires. Food should be discarded after this date!

Avoid Cross Contamination

  • Sanitize your surroundings! At least once daily the countertops of your families kitchen should be cleaned. When cooking with hazardous foods, disinfect any surfaces, dishes and equipment that were used.
  • Get rid of the rag! A dishcloth that is used for hands, dishes and countertops, is covered in bacteria. Using a contaminated dishcloth to wipe countertops spreads bacteria throughout the kitchen- potentially infecting other foods.
    • Change your dishcloth frequently to prevent the spread of bacteria
    • Use paper towels when cleaning up after raw meats and other hazardous foods

Get tips for teaching food safety to your kids! Registered dietitian and CUSD Nutrition’s director, Wesley Delbridge shares his advice here (


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