Food Safety – We at Inclema’s want you and your family to stay safe! Follow these guidelines and you’ll be all set!
Keep Food Safe! Food Safety Basics
Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential in preventing foodborne illness. You can’t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four Fight BAC!® guidelines to keep food safe:
- Clean—Wash hands and surfaces often.
- Separate—Don’t cross-contaminate.
- Cook—Cook to proper temperatures, checking with a food thermometer.
- Chill—Refrigerate promptly.
- Purchase refrigerated or frozen items after selecting your nonperishables.
- Never choose meat or poultry in packaging that is torn or leaking.
- Do not buy food past “Sell-By,” “Use-By,” or other expiration dates.
- Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F).
- Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer. The refrigerator should be at 40 °F or below and the freezer at 0 °F or below.
- Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats within 2 days; other beef, veal, lamb, or pork, within 3 to 5 days.
- Perishable food such as meat and poultry should be wrapped securely to maintain quality and to prevent meat juices from getting onto other food.
- To maintain quality when freezing meat and poultry in its original package, wrap the package again with foil or plastic wrap that is recommended for the freezer.
- In general, high-acid canned food such as tomatoes, grapefruit, and pineapple can be stored unopened on the shelf for 12 to 18 months. Low-acid canned food such as meat, poultry, fish, and most vegetables will keep 2 to 5 years-if the unopened can remains in good condition and has been stored in a cool, clean, and dry place. Discard cans that are dented, leaking, bulging, or rusted.
- Refrigerator—The refrigerator allows slow, safe thawing. Make sure thawing meat and poultry juices do not drip onto other food.
- Cold Water—For faster thawing, place food in a leak-proof plastic bag. Submerge in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook immediately after thawing.
- Microwave—Cook meat and poultry immediately after microwave thawing.
- Always wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
- Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. After cutting raw meats, wash cutting board, knife, and counter tops with hot, soapy water.
- Marinate meat and poultry in a covered dish in the refrigerator.
- Sanitize cutting boards by using a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water.
Cook foods to the recommended safe minimum internal temperatures listed below. Check temperatures with a food thermometer. Learn more about using food thermometers on the FSIS Web site or by calling the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline.
|Product||Type||Internal Temperature (°F)|
|Beef & Veal||Ground||160|
|Steak and roasts medium||160|
|Steak and roasts medium rare||145|
|Chicken & Turkey||Breasts||165|
|Ground, stuffing, and casseroles||165|
|Whole bird, legs, thighs, and wings||165|
|Fish & Shellfish||Any type||145|
|Steak and roasts medium||160|
|Steaks and roasts medium rare||145|
|Pork||Chops, fresh (raw) ham ground, ribs, and roasts||160|
|Fully cooked ham (to reheat)||140|
Cold Storage Chart
|Cold Storage Chart|
|Preparation||Type or Description||Refrigerate (40 °F)||Freeze (0 °F)*|
|Beef, Lamb, Pork, Veal|
|Fresh beef, lamb, veal and pork||Ground, hamburger, stew meat, variety meat (tongue, liver, heart, kidney, chitterlings)||1-2 days||3-4 months|
|Chops, roasts, steaks||3-5 days||4-12 months|
|Chops, pre-stuffed||1 day||Does not freeze well|
|Leftovers||Including casseroles||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|Corned Beef||In pouch, with pickling juices||5-7 days||Drained, 1 month|
|Bacon||Bacon||7 days||1 month|
|Fully Cooked||Slices||3-4 days||1-2 months|
|Half||3-5 days||1-2 months|
|Whole||7 days||1-2 months|
|Canned Labeled “Keep Refrigerated”||Opened||3-5 days||1-2 months|
|Unopened||6-9 months||Do not freeze|
|Vacuum sealed||Unopened, fully cooked vacuum sealed, dated||“Use-by” date||1-2 months|
|Unopened, fully cooked vacuum sealed, undated||2 weeks||1-2 months|
|Chicken, Turkey, Other Poultry|
|Fresh||Chicken breast, pre-stuffed||1 day||Does not freeze well|
|Ground, patties, giblets||1-2 days||3-4 months|
|Pieces||1-2 days||9 months|
|Whole||1-2 days||1 year|
|Leftovers||Casseroles||3-4 days||4-6 months|
|Chicken nuggets, patties||1-2 days||1-3 months|
|Pieces, plain or fried||3-4 days||4 months|
|Pieces in broth or gravy||3-4 days||6 months|
|Fresh||In shell||3-5 weeks||Do not freeze|
|Yolk, whites||2-4 days||1 year|
|Leftovers||Casserole, quiche, omelet||3-4 days||2 months|
|Hard-cooked||1 week||Does not freeze well|
|Opened||Liquid pasteurized eggs, egg substitutes||3 days||Does not freeze well|
|Unopened||Liquid pasteurized eggs, egg substitutes||10 days||1 year|
|Sausages, Lunch Meats|
|Hard Sausage||Jerky sticks, pepperoni||2-3 weeks||1-2 months|
|Raw Sausage||Beef, chicken, pork, turkey||1-2 days||1-2 months|
|Smoked Sausage||Breakfast links, patties||7 days||1-2 months|
|Lunch Meat||Deli-sliced or store-prepared||3-5 days||1-2 months|
|Opened||Hot dogs||1 week||1-2 months|
|Lunch meat—vacuum-packed, sliced||3-5 days||1-2 months|
|Summer sausage labeled “keep refrigerated”||3 weeks||1-2 months|
|Unopened||Hot dogs||2 weeks||1-2 months|
|Lunch meat—vacuum-packed, sliced||2 weeks||1-2 months|
|Summer sausage labeled “keep refrigerated”||3 months||1-2 months|
|Fresh||Fish||1-2 days||3-8 months|
|Shellfish||1-2 days||3-12 months|
|Leftovers||Fish and shellfish||3-4 days||3 months|
|Frozen Dinners and Entrees||“Keep frozen”||Unsafe to thaw||3-4 months|
|Mayonnaise||Commercial, “refrigerate after opening”||2 months||Do not freeze|
|Other Leftovers||Gravy and meat broth||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|Pizza||3-4 days||1-2 months|
|Soups and stews||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|Stuffing||3-4 days||1 month|
|Salads||Egg, chicken, ham, macaroni, tuna (store-prepared, homemade)||3-5 days||Does not freeze well|
|* Because freezing at 0 °F keeps food safe indefinitely, recommended storage times are for quality only.|