Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health
South Dakota Department of Health

How to Prevent Foodborne Illness


  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before preparing, serving, and eating food.
  • Clean all food preparation surfaces that will come in contact with food.
  • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables with plain water before eating or cooking.
  • Wash hands, utensils, plates, platters, and counter tops after contact with raw meat or poultry and before contact with the same food when cooked.
  • Keep dish washing sponges and cloths clean.
  • Serve cooked products on clean plates, with clean utensils.
  • Discard all outdated, obviously spoiled, and possibly unsafe food.


  • Do not let raw meat or poultry or their juices come in contact with other foods.
  • Enclose individual packages of raw meat and poultry purchased at the grocery store in plastic bags to avoid contaminating other foods.
  • Thaw frozen meat or poultry in the refrigerator or in a microwave oven, not on the counter top.
  • Use different utensils and platters to prepare food for cooking and to serve food after cooking.


  • Maintain the internal temperature of cooked foods that will be served hot at 140ºF or above.
  • Use a meat thermometer to measure proper cooking temperatures.
  • Cook ground meat and fresh meat to at least 160ºF.
  • Cook fresh poultry to at least 180ºF and ground poultry to at least 170ºF.
  • Don't taste meat, poultry, eggs, fish, shellfish, or any other food of animal origin when it's raw or during cooking.
  • Cover and reheat leftovers to 165ºF before serving.
  • Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm.


  • Refrigerate all products marked "keep refrigerated."
  • Freeze all products with a "keep frozen" label.
  • Keep the refrigerator at 40ºF or below and the freezer at 0ºF or below.
  • Keep cold foods cold (40ºF or below) until served.
  • Arrange items in the refrigerator and freezer to allow cold air to circulate freely.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered shallow (less than 2 inches deep) containers as soon as possible and always within 2 hours of cooking.

Source: Preventing Foodborne Illness, A Guide to Safe Food Handling, USDA, Sept. 1990.

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