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Photo of the Centennial Bridge with a Welcome to Rock Island sign in the foreground

Food Safety at Home

The environmental health staff conducts inspections on food facilities which are licensed by the health department. Along with inspections, education and training are provided to food service employees as well as to the general public.

Safe Food Handling:

When you shop - Buy cold food last, get it home fast!

Check the temperature of your refrigerator with an appliance thermometer.  To keep bacteria in check, the refrigerator should run at 41° F; the freezer unit at 0° F.  Keep your refrigerator as cold as possible without freezing milk or lettuce.

When you prepare food - Keep everything clean, thaw in refrigerator!

What about antibacterial sanitizers in the kitchen?

Food handling experts feel hot soapy water used properly should protect you adequately against foodborne bacteria.  However, kitchen sanitizers (including a mixture of bleach and water) can provide some added protection.  NOTE:  Sanitizer product directions must be followed carefully as products differ greatly.

When you're cooking - Cook thoroughly!

It takes thorough cooking to kill harmful bacteria, so you're taking chances when you eat meat, poultry, fish or eggs that are raw or only partly cooked.  Plus, hamburger that is red in the middle and rare steak and roast beef are also undercooked from the safety standpoint.

Safe microwaving

A great timesaver, the microwave has one food safety disadvantage.  It sometimes leaves cold spots in food.  Bacteria can survive in these spots.  So...

When you serve food - Never leave it out over 2 hours!

When you handle leftovers - Use small containers for quick cooling!


Kept it too long?  When in doubt, throw it out!

Wash your hands!!!

Handwashing prevents you and others from becoming ill.

Before After
Eating Using the restroom
Handling clean equipment Sneezing and coughing
Preparing any food and preparing different foods Touching hair, skin, nose, and sores
Anytime your hands are soiled Playing sports and games
Handling money
Handling soiled dishware
Eating, drinking, and smoking

* The safe food handling information above is from USDA Home and Garden Bulletin No. 248, Western Illinois University Department of Agriculture.

Food Safety Links:

Federal Food Safety ExternalLink.gif Food and Drug Administration ExternalLink.gif
Illinois Department of Public Health ExternalLink.gif Partnership for Food Safety Education ExternalLink.gif
Scrub Club FightBac! Kids Food Safety - Games
U. S. Department of Agriculture ExternalLink.gif FightBac!

Other Resources:

U. S. Department of Agriculture