Authors as Published

Stephanie K. Goodwin, RD, EFNEP/SCNEP Graduate Assistant

Fight Bac! Keep Food Safe From Bacteria

Before you start creating meals and snacks in the kitchen, take a second to learn the basics to fight BAC (bacteria)! Bacteria are the invisible enemy found almost everywhere in the kitchen. You can find bacteria on food, cutting boards, utensils, cookware and even on you! Fighting bacteria in the kitchen will help keep you and others from getting sick. Play the games below to learn best practices to keep your food safe!


Circle the correct choice to keep you and your family healthy:
Eating within 2 hours?
If you pick up or receive hot food:
Enjoy eating within
2 hours
Leave on the table
until you get hungry
Eating later than 2 hours?
Foods that have been purchased or delivered cold:
Should be "warmed"
to room temperature
Should be eaten
or refrigerated
Refrigerate or throw it out!
Keeping food warm is not enough because harmful bacteria can multiply at "warm" or at room temperatures.



Keep Hot foods Hot! and Keep Cold foods Cold! Here are some tips for safety and better taste...



What should you do with your “hot” or “cold” food if you are eating later than 2 hours?

Draw or write in the space below what you would do to keep “hot” foods hot and “cold” foods cold:

Do you know the proper thawing and reheating techniques to keep your food safe from bacteria?

Draw a star next to each of the things that you have done to keep your food safe.
 Thaw and marinate all foods in the refrigerator. Never thaw food on the counter and NEVER thaw foods at room temperature.

Thaw foods in a shallow pan to catch drippings so that other refrigerated foods will not be contaminated by raw food juices.

Thaw food in the microwave or in cold water in the sink. Food must be cooked immediately after thawing.

Reheat foods in microwave or oven until hot and steaming.

Cover and rotate food in a microwave so that it heats evenly.


Keep it ... CLEAN!

Check out the ways you can Fight BAC!®

Wash your hands and surfaces often.

Wash your hands with soap and warm water.

Wash your hands:

  • before you make or eat a snack or meal,
  • after playing with pets, and
  • after using the bathroom.

Wash fruits and vegetables with cold water before you eat them.

Always use clean knives, forks, spoons, and plates.

Always use a clean plate. Cooked foods should not be placed on the same plate that held raw meat, poultry, or fish.

Only put food on clean surfaces. Never put your sandwiches or snacks on a dirty table or counter.

Put backpacks and books on the floor. Don’t put them on the kitchen table or counters.


Separate: Don't cross-contaminate



1. Place your _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ on the floor, not on the
kitchen counter or table.

2. Always use clean knives, spoons, plates, and _ _ _ _ _.

3. Use cold water to wash fruits and _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.

4. Place _ _ _ _ _ _ foods on a clean plate.

5. Wash your hands with warm water and _ _ _ _.

6. Counters should be _ _ _ _ _ before you put food on them.

7. Wash your hands after playing with _ _ _ _.



Source: United States Department of Agriculture; Food Safety and Inspection Service


This publication was partially funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low incomes. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your local county or city Department of Social Services (phone listed under city/county government).  For help finding a local number, call toll-free: 1-800-552-3431 (M-F 8:15-5:00, except holidays).  By calling your local DSS office, you can get other useful information about services.

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, age, disability, or political beliefs.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call, toll free, (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

This publication was partially funded by the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program, USDA, CSREES.

Reviewed by Renee Boyer, Extension Specialist, Food Safety

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

October 19, 2010

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