Four Lessons

Even for experienced cooks, the improper heating and preparation of food means bacteria can survive. Use a food thermometer — you can't tell food is cooked safely by how it looks.

Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get on hands, cutting boards, knives, and countertops. Frequent cleaning can keep that from happening. And always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.

Rinse fruits and vegetables under running tap water just before eating.  Rub firm-skin produce (or scrub with clean brush) under running tap water.

Cross-contamination is how bacteria spreads. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods.

Bacteria spreads fastest at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, so chilling food properly (keep a constant refrigerator temperature of 40°F or below) is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.