There are many steps we can take to help preventing foodborne illnesses, caused by our invisible enemy bacteria. Today I would like to share an article written by Wendy Hatfield-Hazzard, a family and community health agent. In this article Wendy highlights Fight BAC’s core four practices for food safety.

Fight BAC

By Wendy Hatfield-Hazzard

We cannot see or smell bacteria that can make us sick. To help keep your family safe and reduce your risk of a foodborne illness use the four principles of Fight BAC!

1. Clean

Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. All countertops and equipment should be cleaned before and after food preparation. Keep your refrigerator clean with hot water and soap, and dry with paper towels. Before using, rinse all fruits and vegetables under cold running water, even if the peel will be thrown away.

2. Separate

To prevent bacteria from spreading, separate any raw uncooked food (raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs) from other foods. When shopping, prevent leaks or cross-contamination by keeping food items separate from other items in your shopping cart and by bagging items separately when checking out. When using a cutting board, keep fresh produce separate from raw meats, seafood or eggs. If available, use two cutting boards.

3. Cook

Use a food thermometer while cooking your family’s meal to ensure your food is cooked to the proper temperature. Cooking food to the proper temperature ensures that harmful bacteria is destroyed in the cooking process. Check food packaging for safe internal temperatures.

4. Chill

Limit growth of bacteria by keeping your refrigerator set at 40 degrees F or below. All perishable food or leftovers should be either frozen or placed in the refrigerator within 2 hours of purchase or use. Do not overstuff the refrigerator to avoid changes in the proper temperature. The safest way to thaw food is by placing the item in the refrigerator on a plate or dish to catch any juices that might leak out. Never thaw food by leaving on the counter for more than 2 hours.

By using the Fight BAC! principles of clean, separate, cook and chill you can help keep your family safe from a foodborne illness!

DUSTY FIFE is the Better Living for Texans agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Denton County. Email her at or call 940-349-2891.

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