Be Food Safe -

Be Food Safe

General Nutrition Card 6

MN WIC Program

  1. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
  2. Calcium
  3. Snack: It's Not a Bad Word
  4. Moms and Kids Need Iron
  5. Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs
  6. Be Food Safe
  7. Vitamin D

Follow these four steps to keep your family’s food safe.


  • Wash hands before cooking or eating food. Wash hands after touching raw foods, using the restroom, changing diapers or handling pets.
  • Use clean utensils. Wash countertops with hot soapy water and clean up spills right away.


  • Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood away from foods that won’t be cooked.
  • Make sure raw food can’t drip onto cooked foods in the refrigerator.


  • Fully cook meats, poultry, seafood and eggs. Check internal meat temperatures with a food thermometer. Recommended temperatures: Ground beef 160°; Pork 160°; Poultry 165°.
  • Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator or by microwave just before cooking.


  • Refrigerate or freeze foods within 2 hours after preparation. In hot weather above 90° F, refrigerate or freeze within 1 hour.
  • Keep the refrigerator at 40° F or lower and the freezer 0° F or lower.

Be extra careful with some foods:

Some foods are more likely to have bacteria which can cause illness. Pregnant women, infants and young children are at higher risk for food-borne illness. Follow these steps to keep your family safe:

  • Cook meat, fish, poultry, eggs and tofu well. Do not serve these foods raw or undercooked.
  • Heat hot dogs, luncheon meats, bologna or other deli meats until steaming hot. To prevent the risk of burns, cool slightly for children before serving.
  • Drink only pasteurized milk. Avoid raw milk. (Pasteurized means food is heated at high temperature to kill bacteria before packaging.)
  • Eat only cheeses made from pasteurized milk. Make sure the label says it is made with pasteurized milk.
  • Drink only pasteurized juices.
  • Avoid refrigerated pâté or meat spreads from a meat counter. Avoid refrigerated smoked fish or seafood unless used in a cooked dish.
  • Avoid raw sprouts.

One food-borne bacteria, Listeria, can be found in pre-cooked refrigerated foods like deli and luncheon meats, hot dogs, deli salads and other pre-cooked meat and poultry products. Listeria can grow at refrigerator temperatures. Heat is needed to kill Listeria. Food-borne illness from Listeria is called listeriosis. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis. Listeriosis may cause premature delivery, miscarriage or severe illness and even death of the newborn infant.