Keeping Your Food Safe

Did you know that one in six Americans could get sick from food poisoning this year?  Sometimes food is contaminated when we buy it or it is not handled properly. A simple mistake can have serious health consequences.  Learning how to keep your food safe at work and at home can keep you, your family members, and your colleagues safe. 
 Keeping your “Bag” lunch safe​
If you bring your lunch from home, it is important to keep “hot” foods hot and “cold” foods cold.  Click here for tips on packing your lunch to go.
A Tool for ​Smart Food Storage

The Food Keeper App developed by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, informs consumers on how to store food and beverages to maximize their freshness and quality. This application will help reduce food waste by showing consumers how to store foods properly and reminding them to use items before they are likely to spoil. The app is available for Android and Apple Devices.


 Keeping Food Safe at an Office Gathering​
If your office is setting out food for a conference or a holiday gathering, it is important for people handling food to have clean hands, prepare foods in a safe manner, and not to let foods sit at room temperature for more than two hours (less time if the food is held in a warm room or outdoors). Keep track of how long foods have been sitting on the buffet or picnic table and discard anything held two hours or more.
For more information about keeping food safe, click here.
The DOHS Community Health Branch (CHB) Food Safety Program Manager can provide consultative services to those who are planning an event where food is served.  Contact:  (301) 496-2346.
 Ask Karen – Food Safety for Your PC/Smartphone​
Ask Karen – your guide to handling and storing food safely and preventing food poisoning.
Is there a food safety question you want answered?  How long can you safely store meat in the refrigerator? How long do leftovers last? Or, how can I tell if my chicken is cooked to a safe temperature?
You can simply Ask Karen, an expert resource at USDA. Use this page to search for common food safety questions (available 24/7), submit a question, or participate in a live chat (Monday - Friday:  10:00 AM - 04:00 PM EST).
Or call the USDA Meat & Poultry
Hotline: 1-888-MPHotline
On your mobile phone access Ask Karen

What’s on Your Plate? Food Safety Tips
There are many reasons why food might be unsafe to eat. The food might contain dangerous bacteria and other substances at the time of purchase.  Sometimes you can see signs that the food has gone bad if the smell or color is off or if mold is visible.  Sometimes the threats are invisible. In either case, the food can make you very sick.  Children and older adults are at an increased risk for food-borne illnesses.  Learn more about how to avoid getting sick from food.
​Check Your Steps

​By following our  four simple stepsyou can  significantly decrease your risk for food borne illness.  

  • CleanWash hands and surfaces often. 

  • SeparateDon't cross-contaminate 

  • CookCook to the right temperature

  • Chill - Refrigerate promptly :

You can also check the list of  dangerous food safety mistakes.

Charts: Food Safety at a Glance
Food Safety Tips for Pregnant Women
Food safety problems can threaten the health of mothers and their unborn babies.
 Get Automatic Alerts​
Find out how to get the latest information on food recalls and alerts, including allergy alerts.