Food Safety Education Month


By Clara Wicoff

Southwind Extension District


Did you know one in six Americans gets foodborne illness every year? September is Food Safety Education Month, which makes it the perfect time to review four simple steps that can help prevent food poisoning: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.


Clean: Wash your hands and kitchen surfaces often. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing food, as well as after handling uncooked meat, poultry, seafood, flour, or eggs.


Separate: For a clean plate, don’t cross-contaminate. Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your shopping cart, in your refrigerator, and during meal preparation. Do not wash raw meat, poultry, or eggs, as this can actually spread germs.


Cook: Use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of cooked foods is high enough to kill the bacteria which cause foodborne illnesses. Whole cuts of beef and pork should be cooked to 145°F and then allowed to rest for three minutes before carving or eating. Ground meats should be cooked to 160°F. All poultry (including ground poultry) and leftovers should be cooked to 165°F.


Chill: All perishable food and leftovers should be refrigerated or frozen within two hours (or within one hour if the food is exposed to temperatures greater than 90°F).


To learn more about these four simple steps, visit


If you are interested in learning more about food safety, consider signing up for our food preservation workshop in Humboldt on October 27th! An RSVP is required for this hands-on program where you will learn about pressure canning, waterbath canning, and dehydrating herbs with food safety specialist Karen Blakeslee. Please call 620-365-2242 to register and get more details.


If you have a passion for food safety, you may also want to consider our Master Food Volunteer program! You will meet others who share a passion for food; participate in classes, by either leading or assisting, to teach others about food; learn up-to-date practices on food safety and nutrition; and take your knowledge of food to the next level. To join, you must complete a 40-hour training course. This course will be offered online from January 17th to February 25th with three days of hands-on training. Interested applicants must apply by December 1st to be considered.


For more information, please contact Clara Wicoff, Nutrition, Food and Health Extension Agent, at [email protected] or 620-365-2242.

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