This is a text-only version of a comic book available in PDF. This publication is also available
in Spanish (text and PDF).
I've got to tell you what happened to my dad!
On Saturday, my mom prepared chicken for us and we all ate lunch.
After eating lunch, it was almost time for my baseball practice! We all rushed out of the house, but mom forgot to
put the cooked chicken in the refrigerator! When my dad came home, the chicken was still out on the kitchen table.
Dad was hungry, so he made a sandwich with the leftover chicken. One hour after eating
the chicken, my dad's stomach started to bother him, but he was tired and decided to go to sleep. During the night,
my dad was throwing up, had stomach cramps, and went to the bathroom a lot. The next day, we drove him to the doctor.
My dad told the doctor about the cooked chicken he ate last night that was left on the table. The doctor said he
probably got sick from the food. My mom felt bad and told the doctor that it was her fault because she forgot to
place the chicken in the refrigerator.
The doctor told my mom, "What caused the problem was dangerous bacteria that grow very fast on food left out
of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. You cannot tell if food is still safe just by looking at it because you
can't see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria. Next time, refrigerate chicken within 2 hours after cooking it."
"My dad got well in a couple of days, but the doctor explained that some people could get more seriously ill
than others and could even end up in the hospital! Young kids, pregnant women, and older adults, like our
grandparents, are all part of the group that has a greater chance of getting sick from bacteria in food. She also
gave us some information on how to handle food at home and how to store food safely. Look!"
(Doctor says:) "Follow these four simple steps to prevent foodborne illness and Be Food Safe!"
- Clean: Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds and wash surfaces often with hot, soapy water.
- Separate: Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood away from ready-to-eat food, fruits, and vegetables.
- Cook: Cook food to safe internal temperatures. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
To find a list of internal temperatures, visit FSIS' Web site, at
- Chill: Place leftovers in the refrigerator, at 40 °F (4.4 °C) or below, within 2 hours; 1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F (32.2 °C).