Safe Food Handling

Food Safety Guidelines

Maintain proper temperatures of potentially hazardous food by:
  1. Cooking foods thoroughly by heating to 165 degrees F.
  2. Heat kills Salmonella: Be sure to also reheat foods to 165 degrees F.
  3. Holding hot foods above 140 degrees F. and cold foods below 45 degrees F.
  4. Never partially cook potentially hazardous foods
  5. Thawing foods improperly
    • in refrigerator below 45 degrees F.
    • under cold running water
    • as part of the cooking process
    • at room temperature

Minimum Temperatures:

  • 165 degrees F. for 15 seconds (All poultry – chicken, turkey, duck, goose)
  • Soups, stews, stuffing, casseroles. Leftovers to reheat. Any meal stuffed with fish, meat, pasta or poultry
  • 155 degrees F. for 15 seconds – Hamburger, meatloaf, and other ground meats. Fresh shell eggs, cooked and held for service
  • 145 degrees F. for 15 seconds – Beef, corned beef, pork, ham, lamb, veal shellfish. Hold roasts to 4 minutes
  • 140 degrees F. for 15 seconds – Ham, fruits & vegetables that are cooked
The Center for Disease Control states the main causes of foodborne illness outbreaks are:
  • holding temperatures (36%)
  • cooking temperatures (19%)
  • poor hygiene (18%)
  • contaminated equipment (14%)
  • unsafe food source (13%)

Sanitation Practices


  • Always work with clean hands, washing them thoroughly after going to the bathroom and after handling raw foods
  • Sanitize kitchen equipment, such as cutting boards, slicers, and knives between handling raw and cooked foods to prevent cross contamination
  • Never work around food when sick
  • Keep hands away from mouth, nose, and hair
  • Do not use cooking utensils to taste food while cooking or serving or smoke while preparing foods
  • Follow proper dish washing procedures: wash, rinse, and sanitize

Food Safety During Power Outages

The Norwalk Health Department is giving the following information regarding food safety during power outages taken from the United States Department of Agriculture guidelines:
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain cold temperatures.
  • The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours.
  • A freezer fully packed will keep food properly cooled for 2 days. Half full freezers will keep cooled for 1 day.
  • Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 45 degrees F or below.
  • Foods that should be thrown out after 2 hours at temperatures above 45 degrees F include raw or cooked meat, poultry and seafood, milk and dairy products, eggs, cooked pasta and pasta salads.
  • Foods that you may be able to keep at room temperature for a few days include butter and margarine, dried fruits, open jars of salad dressings, peanut butter, jelly, taco sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard, ketchup and olives. Also, hard and processed cheese, bread, rolls, cakes and muffins.
  • If power is out for a long period of time obtain dry or block ice. Fifty pounds of dry ice can hold an 18 cubic foot full freezer for 2 days.