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Food Safety Basics

Cleanliness helps prevent foodborne illness...


so keep your hands and anything that comes into contact with food clean, like cutting boards, dishes, utensils, counter tops, colanders etc.

Always wash hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water:
  • before & after handling food, especially raw meat & poultry
  • after using the bathroom or changing a diaper
  • after handling trash
  • after blowing nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • after handling pets
  • after any other activity which may contaminate hands
Wash cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.

You can give your food contact surfaces an extra cleaning with a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Apply and let stand on the surface for at least 1 minute; then air dry.

Don’t cross-contaminate...

by keeping raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food.

Tips to help you:
  • Do not place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board used to prepare raw food.
  • After cutting raw meats & fresh fruits and vegetables, wash hands, cutting board, knife, and counter tops with hot soapy water.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw separate from other foods such as raw meat, poultry or seafood - and from kitchen utensils used for those products.
  • Place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in sealed containers to prevent liquids from contacting other foods.
  • Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood at the bottom of the fridge, below cooked/ready-to-eat foods and fresh produce.
  • Always store eggs in their original carton.
Pet Food
Like our own food, pet food may contain harmful bacteria or toxins. Handle pet food as you would people foodto prevent the risk of foodborne illness,

When possible, use 2 cutting boards - one for fresh produce and a one for raw meats.

Always cook to a safe temperature...

"Is it done yet?" You can't tell by looking. Use a thermometer to make sure you are reaching the desired temperature.

Safe CookingTemperatures
  • Ground meats - 160°F
  • Ground poultry - 165°F
  • Beef, pork, veal and lamb steaks, roasts, chops - 145 degrees F (allow a 3-minute rest time after cooking).
  • Poultry - 165°F
  • Cook shellfish until opaque
  • Cook fish until it flakes easily with fork - 145°
  • Cook eggs until firm
  • Reheating left-overs - 165 °F
  • Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating.
Microwaving
Make sure there are no cold spots in your food (where bacteria can survive). It’s best to cover food with a lid or a microwave-safe plastic wrap, stir and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.
  • Always observe the standing time to complete cooking
  • Remove food from packaging before defrosting
  • Only use cookware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven
  • Cook meat, poultry, egg casseroles, and fish immediately after defrosting in the microwave - don’t save for a later date

Cook large cuts of meat on medium power (50%), instead of high power, for a longer period of time to allow heat to reach the center without overcooking outer areas.

Proper storage helps to:

keep your food at the peak of quality, maintain nutrient levels, slow the growth of illness-causing bacteria, and can save you money too!

Your Fridge
Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below & your freezer at 0°F or below. Use appliance thermometers in the refrigerator/freezer to monitor. Check thermometers when the refrigerator temperature is at its highest - when refrigerator compressor turns on. If the temperature is above 40°, adjust the refrigerator dial. Visit fightbac.org to learn more.

Storing Food
  • Refrigerate/freeze perishables as soon as you get home from the store
  • Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats within 2 days; other meats within 3 to 5 days
  • Use cooked leftovers within 4 days
  • Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, leftovers or cut fresh fruits or veggies sit at room temperature more than 2 hours (1 hour on a hot day - above 90°F)
  • Use or discard refrigerated food on a regular basis
  • For left-overs, divide foods into shallow containers for rapid cooling
  • Do not over-stuff the refrigerator so cold air can circulate
Thawing Foods
Don't leave foods out on the counter or in hot water to thaw. Food is less safe when left at a temperature above 40°F. Here are three safe ways to defrost food:
  • Refrigerator: It may take a little more time, but thawing food in the refrigerator is safer. Make sure liquids do not drip on other foods.
  • Cold water: For faster thawing, place food in a leak-proof plastic bag and submerge in cold tap water. Cook food immediately after thawing.
  • Microwave: Check for cold spots. Cook meat and poultry immediately after thawing.
Marinating
Always marinate food in a covered dish in the refrigerator. Don't use marinade used on raw meat or poultry on cooked food - boil it first!

To safely store leftovers, be sure to stock up on shallow containers with lids. Also, pick up some labels to keep track of the storage date and make sure you are eating food that’s the freshest and safest. Shopping & Storage

THE CORE FOUR

There are four easy steps to protect you from foodborne illness: CLEAN, SEPARATE, COOK, and CHILL.

LEARN MORE

What is Foodbourne Illness?
LEARN MORE

Shopping and Storage
LEARN MORE

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