Prevent, Promote, and Protect your Health with the Lake County General Health District
(440) 350-2543
5966 Heisley Rd
Mentor, Ohio 44060

Home Food Safety

Many people feel that food safety is only an issue in commercial food services, but the truth is that the same hazards can exist in your own kitchen. Food related illnesses do not discriminate and the more knowledge a person has about food safety, the less chance there is that an illness will originate in the home.   Holiday Food Safety information and Barbecue Food Safety.

USDA – Kitchen Companion

Consumers Guide to Food Safety – USDA
4 Easy Things to Remember!



Food Separation

Raw products should be separated from ready to eat foods to prevent cross-contamination and risk of illness.Proper Food Storage

Storage in a refrigerator is based on proper cooking temperatures. The foods that require the highest cooking temperature should be stored on the bottom. Ready to eat foods like fruits, vegetables, deli meats, and cheeses should be stored on the top. This prevents hazards like raw chicken (salmonella) dripping onto lettuce that won’t be cooked.


Storage Temperatures


Foods that require refrigeration (meats, cheeses, milk, etc) should be kept below 41°F to slow the growth of bacteria and risk of illness. Remember that custard pies like pumpkin pies should be kept cold too!

After cooking, foods shall be kept hot that 135°F and above to limit the growth of bacteria that could make you sick.

Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible. When cooling a large portion of food, like soup or chili, try to break it down into smaller portions. Don’t put lids on cooling foods in the fridge – until it’s cold… the heat can’t get out!

Cooking Temperatures

A calibrated food probe thermometer is always a useful tool for verifying that various foods are cooked and held to adequate temperatures to destroy or limit the growth microorganisms. These thermometers can be purchased inexpensively from local grocery and hardware stores. Simply insert the metal stem into your favorite dish and watch the needle move. It only takes a few seconds and the benefits of preventing an illness far exceed your investment in the thermometer.

Processed foods (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc) and Vegetables: 135°F

Fish, shellfish, beef, pork, and eggs: 145°F

Whole cuts of beef or pork roasts: 145°F

Ground meats (beef or pork), pooled eggs: 155°F

Casseroles, stuffed foods, and poultry: 165°F

Reheating all foods: 165°F

Any food in a microwave – remember to stir frequently: 165



Be Food Safe: Protect Yourself from Food Poisoning

Foodborne illness, sometimes called food poisoning, is a common, costly—yet preventable—public health problem. Each year, about 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. With the recent high-profile outbreaks of Salmonella in raw ground tuna and Listeria incantaloupes, food safety is fresh in our minds.

Common Foodborne Illnesses and Symptoms

A young girl slicing fruitThe 

most common foodborne illnesses
 are norovirus, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and Campylobacter. Symptoms of food poisoning can be as commonplace as diarrhea or as life-threatening as organ failure. These illnesses can even cause long-term health problemsor death. When young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with weak immune systems eat contaminated food, they have a greater chance of becoming severely sick with problems like miscarriage or kidney failure.

See your doctor or healthcare provider if you have diarrhea along with a high fever (temperature over 101.5°F, measured orally), blood in the stools, prolonged vomiting that prevents you from keeping liquids down, signs of dehydration, including a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up, or if you have had diarrhea for more than 3 days.

Be Food-Safe Savvy: Know the Risks and Rules

Everyone is at risk for food poisoning. To reduce your risk, be savvy about how germs can be found in contaminated food and sometimes make you sick. There are things that you can do to protect yourself. For example, do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs or raw (unpasteurized) milk.

Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with weak immune systems are more at risk for food poisoning and should be especially careful. Knowing the rules of food safety will help prevent germs sometimes found in food from making you sick.

Rules of Food Safety

    Wash your hands and surfaces often. Germs can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards.
    Don’t cross-contaminate. Even after you’ve cleaned your hands and surfaces thoroughly, raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can still spread germs to ready-to-eat foods—unless you keep them separate.
    Watch the SEPARATE video!
  • COOK
    Cook to the right temperature. While many people think they can tell when food is “done” simply by checking its color and texture, there’s no way to be sure it’s safe without following a few important but simple steps. Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry.
    Watch the COOK video!
    Keep your refrigerator below 40°F and refrigerate foods properly. Germs can grow in many foods within 2 hours unless you refrigerate them. (During the summer heat, cut that time down to 1 hour.)

For more information on preventing food poisoning, check your steps at

More Information

For more information about foodborne illness and food safety, call 1-800-CDC-INFO, e-mail, or visit these Web sites:

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