It is a well-known fact that consuming raw meat has the potential to make you sick. You are also at increased risk of food poisoning if you’re not following proper safety practices when handling raw poultry, seafood, eggs, or meat, even if the meat has been thoroughly cooked to its recommended internal temperature. To reduce the risk of foodborne illness when preparing meals, it is important to wash hands often and take steps to prevent cross-contamination of foods. When you wash your hands, use hot soapy water, applying to the front and back of your hands up to your wrists. Don’t forget to scrub in between fingers and under fingernails. Proper handwashing should take no less than 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. Wash hands before handling or preparing foods, eating meals, or switching tasks when cooking, such as handling raw meats and then cutting vegetables or placing ready-to-eat dinner rolls in a bread basket. Wash hands after preparing food, touching raw foods and meat, or touching raw eggs or foods that contain raw eggs. Remember to also wash hands after completing a non-cooking related activity, such as using the restroom, handling dirty dishes, laundry, or garbage, using your phone or other electronic device, or touching your face and body. Cross-contamination occurs when juices from raw meat, poultry, eggs and fish come in contact with ready-to-eat foods, allowing bacteria to spread. This can be prevented by separating foods even before the beginning of the cooking process. When at the grocery store, ensure that raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs are not placed in the same bag with any ready-to-eat foods. Once home, store any raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator in a clean container to prevent juices from leaking onto other products. During the meal preparation process, using different cutting boards, plates and utensils will greatly decrease your risk for food poisoning. Raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs should be given their own cutting boards, plates and utensils separate from fresh produce or ready-to-eat foods. Use these safety practices in your own kitchen to help reduce your risk for spreading bacteria and food poisoning.