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Food Safety Preparation

Together, we can be food smart.

Be Food Safe logo

Our associates are dedicated to practicing food safety in Publix stores, but we want to make sure that your food stays safe even after it leaves the store. Follow these guidelines to clean, prepare, cook, and store your food safely.

Clean your food.

Food Safety Hand Washing

Be sure to clean your kitchen surfaces and tools frequently to prevent spreading bacteria.

  • Rule #1: Be sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item, and before you use them on the next food.
  • Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them frequently and on the hot cycle of your washing machine.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, even those with rinds and skins that you don't plan to eat. Scrub firm produce, like melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush.
  • Do not wash meat, poultry, or eggs. Washing can actually help bacteria spread because their juices may splash into (and contaminate) your sink and counter tops.

Separate food.

Food Safety Separating and Preparing

To avoid cross-contamination, keep raw meat, poultry and seafood safely away from ready-to-eat foods.

  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags, and refrigerator.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.

Cook food safely.

Food Safety Meat Temperatures

Even experienced cooks could stand to brush up on proper heating and preparation techniques in order to reduce contamination risk.

  • Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of cooked foods—particularly meat, poultry, seafood, egg dishes, leftovers, and casseroles. Follow the safe minimum cooking temperatures for these foods.
  • Cook ground meat or ground poultry until it reaches a safe internal temperature. Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.
  • Keep food hot after cooking, at 140°F above.
  • Bring sauces, soups, and gravy to a boil when re-heating.

Chill and store food.

Food Safety Chilling and Storing

Bacteria spreads fastest at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. That's why chilling food properly is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses.

  • Chill leftovers and takeout foods within two hours. Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below, and use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature.
  • Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, and other perishables as soon as you get them home from the store.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Food must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Always immediately cook food that has been thawed in cold water or the microwave.
  • Know when to throw food out. You can't tell by just looking or smelling.