Foods delivered cold should be eaten within 2 hours or refrigerated or frozen for eating at another time. You may wish to reheat your meal, whether it was purchased hot and then refrigerated or purchased cold initially. Reheat food to 165 °F using a food thermometer to check the temperature. Download educational resources, activity books, word games and coloring sheets provide to protect yourself and your family. Teach kids how you can safely buy, store, prepare and serve food. Follow these six tips to avoid food poisoning.
Safe Meals: Takeout, Delivery or Dining Out
Many people receive home delivered meals from churches, social organizations, senior assistance groups, or healthcare organizations. Hot or cold ready-prepared meals are perishable and can cause illness when mishandled. Proper handling is essential to ensure the food is safe to eat.
Video: Takeout creates a lot of trash. It does not have to.
Eating Out, Zero Waste and Declining Single Use Disposables (e.g. napkins, straws, etc.) The concept of zero waste means producing less garbage. Our single-use items are not helping the fight against climate change but there are easy ways to reduce waste and reuse. Wasted food often gets overlooked, but according to an assessment by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 6.7 percent of all global greenhouse gases come from food waste.
Download a quick overview for staying healthy and free from food poisoning when getting takeout, delivery or dining out. A reference guide of invaluable information on meal prep, shopping, and storage lists of DOS and DON’TS food safety from the grocery cart to the refrigerator.
Download Food Handling Fact Sheets
7 Steps Community Meals and Food Safety in the Kitchen
Cook It Well Cooking food to the proper temperature gets rid of harmful germs. Use a food thermometer to check meat and microwaved dishes on your menu. Make sure chicken wings (and any other poultry) reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F and that ground beef items reach 160°F. Follow frozen food package cooking directions when cooking in microwave.
Keep It Safe If preparing food in advance, divide cooked food into shallow containers and store in a refrigerator or freezer until the party begins. This encourages rapid, even cooling. Keep hot foods at 140°F or warmer. Use chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays to keep food hot on the buffet table. Keep cold foods, like salsa and guacamole, at 40°F or colder. Use small service trays or nest serving dishes in bowls of ice. Getting takeout or delivery? Make sure to keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. Divide large pots of food, such as soups or stews, and large cuts of meats, such as roasts or whole poultry, into small quantities for refrigeration to allow them to cool quickly and minimize time in the temperature “danger zone” between 40°F and 140°F.
Watch the Time Follow recommended cooking and standing times. “Cold spots”—areas that are not completely cooked—can harbor germs. Always follow directions for the “standing time”— the extra minutes food should rest to finish cooking. Track the time that food stays on the buffet. Throw away any perishable foods that have been out at room temperature for two hours or more.
Avoid Mix-ups Separate raw meats from ready-to-eat foods like veggies when preparing, serving, or storing foods. Make sure to use separate cutting boards, plates, and knives for produce and for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. Offer guests serving utensils and small plates to discourage them from eating directly from the bowls with dips and salsa.
Store and Reheat Leftovers the Right Way Divide leftovers into smaller portions or pieces, place in shallow containers, and refrigerate or freeze. Refrigerate leftover foods at 40°F or below as soon as possible and within two hours of preparation. It is OK to put hot foods directly into the refrigerator. Refrigerate leftovers for three to four days at most. Freeze leftovers if you will not be eating them soon. Reheat leftovers to at least 165°F before serving. This includes leftovers warmed up in the microwave.
Serving Salsa on Game Day?
Try this recipe for fresh salsa that uses fresh garlic and fresh lime juice. Remember to refrigerate any homemade salsa until it is time to serve. Nest the bowl in ice on the serving table or make sure you follow the two-hour rule.
Ingredients 18 fresh Roma tomatoes 1 medium jalapeño pepper, stem removed 1 small sweet onion, peeled 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves 1 ½ teaspoons salt 2 tablespoons fresh garlic 2 ounces fresh lime juice
Wash your hands and clean the cutting board and prep area with soap and hot water.
Rinse the tomatoes, jalapeño pepper, and cilantro under walking water.
Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
Finely dice the onion, jalapeño pepper, and garlic.
Chop the cilantro leaves into small pieces.
Combine tomatoes, peppers, onion, cilantro, salt, garlic, and lime juice in a bowl and refrigerate until serving time.
Information and Resources
FoodSafety.gov Charts: Food Safety at a Glance
How long can you store leftovers in the refrigerator? How can you tell when chicken breasts are done? How long does it take to cook a turkey? Check out these charts for fast answers.
Storing Food Charts
Storing Food Whether putting food in the refrigerator, the freezer, or the cupboard, you have plenty of opportunities to prevent foodborne illnesses.
Preparing and Cooking Food One of the basics of food safety is cooking food to its proper temperature. Foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness.
The FoodKeeper helps you understand food and beverages storage. It will help you maximize the freshness and quality of items. By doing so you will be able to keep items fresh longer than if they were not stored properly. It is also available as a mobile application for Android and Apple devices.