Safe nutrition relates to avoidance of food-borne contaminants, pathogens and toxins that cause food -borne infections and food poisoning. There are 76 million cases of food-borne illnesses in the US annually and 5000 fatalities from this cause. The following precautions are beneficial in preventing these illnesses.

1) Hand washing completely with water and soap before handling any food item or any dishes used in preparing or serving of food. Food should be well washed and rinsed.

2) Food to be eaten without cooking should not be in contact with uncooked meat,fish seafood, poultry or other potentially contaminated food items. Raw or undercooked meats, seafood, poultry should not be eaten.

3) Unpasteurized milks, foods prepared with unpasteurized milks, unpasteurized fruit or vegetable juices should not be consumed.

4) Cooking should be done thoroughly by reaching appropriate temperatures. These temperatures are found at Factsheets/Keep_Safe_Food_Safety_Basics/index.asp.

5) All leftover food, including gravies, sauces and soups should be reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

6) Refrigerators should be at or below 40 degrees and freezers should be below zero Fahrenheit. Most bacteria tend to grow between 40 and 140 Fahrenheit. Food should be kept below 40 or above 140 Fahrenheit. Food should not be kept at room temperature for more than two hours. If the room temperature is over 90 Fahrenheit food can become spoiled in only one hour. Safe maintenance and preparation of food items are especially important during pregnancy.