Food Safety Month 9.29.21
/ Nutrition

5 Simple Tricks to Avoid Foodborne Illness

At God’s Love, food safety is a large part of our daily work. Our teams continuously monitor food safety throughout our building and the delivery process. Staff and volunteers are routinely trained on food safety practices. September marks Food Safety Education Month, and we would like to share some information about foodborne illness (food poisoning) and what you can do at home to avoid it.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 48 million Americans get foodborne illnesses each year – that amounts to roughly 1 in every 6 people! The risk of getting a foodborne illness is even higher if you are under 5 years old, over 65 years old, are pregnant, or have a weak immune system. Your chance of getting a foodborne illness can be lowered by adopting a few simple food safety tips. By taking these precautions, you not only will reduce your risk of food poisoning, but you will also lower your chances of worsening health conditions, hospital visits, and even death.

By following the tips below, you can lower your chances of getting foodborne illness.

Wash thoroughly!

Photo of volunteer in the God's Love kitchen washing a green cutting board.

Always make sure to wash anything that will come in contact with your food.

  • Hands: wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Countertops, cutting boards, knives, etc.: wash anything that will be touching your food with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds
  • Produce: Don’t forget to wash your food! Make sure to wash produce (ex: fruits and vegetables) with cool water (no soap) and dry them off with a clean towel. Do not wash meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.

Wash often!

Photo of volunteer in the God's Love kitchen washing their hands.

Make sure to wash your hands often, especially during these times:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • After handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs
  • Before eating
  • After using the toilet or cleaning a child who has used the toilet
  • After touching an animal or animal food
  • After touching garbage
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

Chill Fast, Defrost Slow

Client, Heidi, standing by her freezer in her home.

Make sure to properly refrigerate or freeze your foods by following these tips:

  • Refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours. Make sure your refrigerator is set to 40F or below.
  • When freezing your food, make sure your freezer is set to 0F or below.
  • When defrosting your food, place frozen items in the bottom shelf of your refrigerator overnight. Plan ahead, as it may take longer than overnight for your food to fully defrost. Do not defrost your food on the counter.

Always Separate!


Photo of a chef holding chicken with coconut curry dish.

Make sure to separate your meats, poultry, seafood, or eggs from fruits and vegetables.

  • Use multiple cutting boards and plates when preparing food. Use one designated cutting board or plate for your produce, and a separate designated cutting board for your meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
  • When shopping, place your produce in one bag and place meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs in a different bag.
  • In your refrigerator, store your produce on a separate shelf from your meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.

Cook to the right temperature!

Meat, poultry, and seafood have specific cooking temperatures for safe consumption. Use a food thermometer to test the temperature of your protein, make sure it matches the designated temperature below:

Food Item Internal Temperature
Beef, pork, lamb 145F
Ground meat 160F
Poultry 165F
Seafood 145F
Microwaved or reheated foods 165F


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