Be Food Safe: Chill
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety at home
podcast series. These podcasts were designed with you in mind - the consumer - who
purchases and prepares meat, poultry and processed egg products
for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging from safe storage, handling,
and preparation of meat, poultry and processed egg products to the importance of keeping
foods safe during a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” This is Gertie Hurley with the Food Safety and
Inspection Service. I’m your host for this segment. With me again is Kathy Bernard from the USDA Meat and
Poultry Hotline. Welcome to the show, Kathy.
Thank you Gertie. I ‘m happy to be here.
In our last few episodes we’ve been talking about three of our four food
safety messages …Clean, Separate, and Cook. Today we’re are going to focus on the
fourth message CHILL. Bacteria grows fastest at temperatures between 40 ºF and 140 ºF
(“Known as the danger Zone”), so chilling food is one of the most effective ways to
reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Kathy, what are some steps we can take to make
sure that we chill food safely?
Gertie, it actually begins in the store. We recommend that you select cold food last.
Pick up perishable food like meat, poultry and egg products at the end of your
shopping to ensure that those foods stay refrigerated until right before check out.
Once you bring the food home, keep the refrigerator set at 40 °F or below and keep
your freezer set at 0 °F or below. Use an appliance thermometer to check the
temperatures of your refrigerator and freezer.
How quickly should we chill food after cooking or using it?
Chill leftovers and takeout foods within 2 hours, (one hour when the temperature is
above 90 °F) and divide food into shallow containers for rapid cooling. Cut the meat
or poultry into smaller portions or slices, place in shallow containers, cover and
refrigerate. Use the food within four days, or freeze for later use.
That’s it for this session. We’ve been talking to Kathy Bernard from the USDA Meat and
Poultry Hotline Thank you Kathy for the helpful advice on keeping foods chilled
safely. I’m Gertie Hurley. I’d like to thank you for joining us for this episode of
“Food Safety at Home” and remember, “Be Food Safe.”
Well, that’s all for this time. Thanks for joining us today for another episode of
food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free meat and poultry hotline
at 1-888-mphotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our virtual representative
"ask karen" at www.askkaren.gov .
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments to
Thanks for tuning in.