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CancerResource: Four Tips for Keeping Food Safe

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Additional Resources

See also:

Our brochure Cancer Information: Where To Find Help: provides a listing various sources of cancer information and assistance, including a number of national organizations who may be able to offer assistance in finding local support.

You can also go to these pages in our Web site:

Updated November 2012

Food safety is especially important for those undergoing cancer treatment and involves four basic steps:

1. Wash hands and surfaces often.

Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, countertops and food. In addition to thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables, change sponges and dishtowels often.

2. Separate, don’t cross-contaminate.

When handling raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, keep these foods away from ready-to-eat foods to stop bacteria from spreading. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and fish.

3. Cook food thoroughly to proper temperatures.

Use a food thermometer, inserted into the center of the food, to check when foods are safely cooked. They must be heated to the U.S. Department of Agriculture-recommended safe minimum internal temperatures (Fahrenheit):

  • Chicken Breast – 165°
  • Leftovers and Casseroles – 165°
  • Egg Dishes – 160°
  • Pork – 160°
  • Fish – 145°
  • Steaks and Roasts – 145°
  • Ground Beef – 160°
  • Whole Poultry – 165°

4. Refrigerate food promptly.

Refrigerate or freeze leftover foods within 1 hour to slow the growth of harmful bacteria (use several shallow containers for large volumes). Use a thermometer to make sure refrigerator temperature is consistently 40°F or below and the freezer 0°F or below.

Thaw frozen meat and poultry in the refrigerator, microwave or cold water, not by leaving it out on the kitchen counter.

Read food product expiration dates and look for signs of spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.

Source: USDA

Published on May 21, 2012

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