Food Safety Facts
Food Safety Information
United States Department of Agriculture
Food Safety and Inspection Service
USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health
agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring
that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products
is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.
USDA Photo· Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often.
· Separate - Don’t cross-contaminate.
· Cook - Cook to proper temperatures.
· Chill - Refrigerate promptly.
Purchase refrigerated or frozen items after
selecting your non-perishables.
· 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
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 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 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.
Basics for Handling Food Safely
Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential to prevent foodborne illness