Handling Food Safely

Shellfish Handling

Sanitation Procedure for Fishermen, Scallop Harvesters and Shuckers:

  1. Keep shellfish refrigerated, stored away from other food, use gloves when handling shellfish. 
  2. Prior to beginning work (shucking), wash hands thoroughly; wash hands again when done shucking.
  3. Wash hands with warm water for 20 seconds, use pump soap and use paper towels.
  4. Wash hands before and after using the rest room, smoking, eating, taking out trash, sanitizing the equipment or facility, using your cell phone, etc.
  5. Make sure to change gloves frequently (any time you change a task).
  6. Sanitize with chlorine bleach (without additives or fragrances)-at the end of your work day and at the beginning of the next work day-sanitize: your work area, counters, equipment, floors, utensils, walls, etc. (remember to hang your mop to drip dry).
  7. Once sanitizing is complete, wash hands again and finish up with a food grade approved hand sanitizer (use 1 Tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of warm water for best results on food contact surfaces/food equipment). Allow items to air dry on (sanitized) surface. 

Sanitation Procedure for Food Service Establishments, Food Handlers and the General Public:

Shellfish must remain cold – store at 45 degrees or below.

  1. Segregate shellfish away from other food.
  2. Wash hands before and after handling shellfish.
  3. Wash hands with warm water for 20 seconds, use pump soap, and paper towels. 
  4. Finishwith a food grade hand sanitizer.
  5. Change gloves frequently (each time you change a task).**Use 1 Tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of warm water for best results on foodcontact surfaces/food equipment. Allow items to air dry on (sanitized) surface.
  6. Wash hands before and after using the rest room, smoking, eating, taking out the trash,sanitizing the equipment or facility, using your cell phone, etc.
  7. Cook scallops-sear outside of scallop, then cook to an internal temp of 145degrees. We strongly advise against eating scallops raw or undercooked at this time.

Outdoor Picnics

In Preparation

Make sure you plan to eat somewhere you can sit on a blanket or a chair in order to protect yourself from ticks. Make sure to pack a food thermometer, a cooler chest with ice, clean utensils, storage containers for leftovers, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and trash bags. Bring a table (if there isn't already one) to keep the food away from the ground and safe from contamination. If you're grilling, bring a grill and be sure to follow our grill safety tips.

Make sure that you bring any perishable foods (hot dogs, burgers, poultry, deviled eggs, macaroni or potato salad, for example) in a well-insulated cooler with ice or freezer packs to keep them cold. Do not partially cook meat ahead of time, it is safer to cook meat and poultry to a safe internal temperature at the picnic. Keep in mind that cooking frozen meat or poultry will take about 50% longer than fully thawed or fresh meat and poultry. If you wish to thaw your meat before the picnic, check out the USDA's Safe Thawing Methods.

At the Picnic

Always wash your hands before preparing food. You can use disposable wipes or hand sanitizer if you do not have running water. Be sure to keep the cooler in the shade to preserve food. Do not let food sit out of the cooler for more than an hour in temperatures at or above 90 degrees. Use a food thermometer to be sure that your meat and poultry is cooked thoroughly. Serve food items on a clean platter, with utensils that have not touched the raw food. Regularly apply sunscreen and insect repellent in order to avoid skin-damaging sun exposure and insect bites.

Grilling Meats

Buying Meat

  • Never buy meat in a package that is torn, and never buy meat that doesn't feel cold.
  • Place meat in a plastic bag so that leaking juices won't drop on to other foods.
  • Make sure to buy fresh meat last, and to separate it from ready-cooked items in your cart.
  • Have the cashier bag raw meat separately from other items, and drive directly home so that you can refrigerate the meats immediately.

Storing Meat

  • Always refrigerate or freeze fresh meats and poultry to preserve freshness and slow the growth of bacteria.
  • If refrigerated, be sure it's at 40 degrees or lower.
  • Use ground meats and poultry within 1-2 days, a d used beef, veal, pork and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops within 5 days.
  • For freezer storage, wrap the meat in heavy duty plastic wrap, aluminum foil, freezer paper, or plastic bags made for freezing.
  • Meat and poultry will be safe for as long as you want as long as they're kept frozen at below 0 degrees. However, they will lose quality over time.
  • Never leave raw meat, poultry, or any perishable food out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • See the chart below for proper storage times.

Safely Cooking Meat

  • Color of meat and poultry is not a good indicator of safety- always use a food thermometer.
  • Never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.
  • After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot (140 degrees or higher) until serving. Accomplish this by leaving them on the side of the grill rack, but not over the coals where they could overcook. If you are at home, you can put them in an oven at 200 degrees, in a chafing dish or slow cooker, or on a warming tray.

Serving Meat Safely

  • Be sure to use a clean plate for cooked meat- not the plate that raw meat touched. Otherwise harmful bacteria can contaminate your meat.

Leftover Meat

  • If you refrigerate within two hours after cooking, meats can be refrigerated for about three or four days.
  • If you freeze them, they should keep good quality for about four months.
(40 °F or below)
(0 °F or below)
SaladsEgg, chicken, ham, tuna & macaroni salads3 to 5 daysDoes not freeze well
Hot dogsopened package1 week1 to 2 months
unopened package2 weeks1 to 2 months
Luncheon meatopened package or deli sliced3 to 5 days1 to 2 months
unopened package2 weeks1 to 2 months
Bacon & SausageBacon7 days1 month
Sausage, raw — from chicken, turkey, pork, beef1 to 2 days1 to 2 months
Hamburger & Other Ground MeatsHamburger, ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb, & mixtures of them1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & PorkSteaks3 to 5 days6 to 12 months
Chops3 to 5 days4 to 6 months
Roasts3 to 5 days4 to 12 months
Fresh PoultryChicken or turkey, whole1 to 2 days1 year
Chicken or turkey, pieces1 to 2 days9 months
Soups & StewsVegetable or meat added3 to 4 days2 to 3 months
LeftoversCooked meat or poultry3 to 4 days2 to 6 months
Chicken nuggets or patties3 to 4 days1 to 3 months
Pizza3 to 4 days1 to 2 months