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Food Safety: Preparing

Table of Contents


Wash your hands often and prepare foods properly to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

How to wash your hands

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following steps for hand-washing:1

If soap and water are not available, use gel hand sanitizers or alcohol-based hand wipes containing 60% to 90% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol. Most supermarkets and drugstores carry these products. Carry one or both with you when you travel, and keep them in your car or purse.

When you use the gel sanitizer, rub your hands until the gel is dry. You don't need to use water. The alcohol in the gel kills the germs on your hands.

When to wash your hands

Wash your hands after:

Prepare foods properly

How to handle food that has mold on it

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends the following when handling food that has mold on it:2

Do not smell food that is covered with mold. This could cause lung problems. If food is very moldy, throw it away. Place it a trash can that children and animals cannot get into.

Some types of food should be thrown away if they have some mold, while others can be used safely.



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010, updated 2011). Keeping hands clean. Available online:
  2. U. S. Department of Agriculture (2013). Molds on food: Are they dangerous? United States Department of Agriculture. Accessed February 3, 2017.

Credits for Food Safety: Preparing

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine

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