NHM Health Focus: Food Safety
To keep food safe and prevent foodborne
Clean! Separate! Cook! and Chill!
Clean - Clean
hands, cutting boards, knives, countertops, and utensils.
Separate - Separate
raw meat, fish and poultry in your grocery cart, and put them on the
bottom shelf of your refrigerator so any drips will not contaminate
other food. Use separate utensils, cutting boards and bowls for different types of food.
Cook - Cook food
at a high enough temperature and for long enough to kill any bacteria.
Chill - Refrigerate
(40°F or lower) or freeze (0°F) leftover foods within two
hours of cooking.
Partnership for Food Safety Education
Clean, separate, cook and chill are important guidelines for safe food preparation, but what about safe food storage? Between
the time food is first harvested or prepared and the time it arrives
at our tables, it must be stored in a way that assures its safety and maintains its
quality. That is, it must be preserved. Food preservation requires that the organisms competing with us for our food (bacteria, fungi, beetles, and more) be killed or inhibited.
Depending on the type of food and our circumstances, we
can use cold temperatures (refrigeration and freezing), high temperatures
(cooking and canning), salt (pickling, jerky), sugar (jams, jellies),
dessication (beans, jerky), and irradiation to discourage organisms competing for our food. People have been salting and drying food for centuries. Chilling and freezing are more convenient when we have ready access to refrigerators
and freezers and a reliable source of electricity to keep them running. Irradiation is newer and in the United States, less common.
However, NASA astronauts and the US military have been dining on irradiated
food since 1960. Irradiation preserves the food and decreases the need for
use of chemical fumigants and other preservatives.
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has
these resources related to food and food safety:
Activities Exchange: Mystery Spot - Two Forks, Idaho
Activities Exchange: Classic Collection - Handwashing
Health Headquarters: Health Focus - Functional Foods
Health Headquarters: Health Focus - Handwashing
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Salmonella
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Germs
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Food Safety
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Washing Away the Germs
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Expiration Dates