With all of these great threads, and contributions from others about some great food..... Comes the most important thread of all... Nobody wants to get yourselves, or especially others, sick from food! Here are some very important and basic steps to ensure that not only will they keep you safe, but also keep your food fresher, by better handling and storage. THE DANGER ZONE!!! The danger zone is between 40 and 140 degrees for prepared foods. Cold prepared foods MUST be held at 40 degrees or below, while hot prepared foods, at 140 degrees... Between those temperatures are the Danger Zone, the breeding ground for bacteria! Foods between these temps must be consumed within 2 hours of preparation.... after that, it gets risky, (if anyone has eaten a mayonaisse-based salad that's been sitting in the summer sun for 4 or 5 hours might attest to) 1'; Cleanliness... Wash your hands often, especially when changing to handling a different food. Avoid "Cross-Contamination" NEVER use the same cutting board to cut your meat and vegetables... It's best to do your vegetables first, then wash the cutting board, then cut your meat, then immediately wash that cutting board in soap and water. 2; Shopping;.... Purchase your meats, seafood, produce and frozen merchandise last... Never purchase meats or poultry in packaging that is torn or leaking. Do not purchase any foods past their expiration date (I don't like even getting close to it) 3; Storage;... Refrigerate perishible foods within 2 hours. (1 hour if outside temperature is 90 degrees or higher) Make sure that your refrigerator and freezer are at the corret temperatures (40 degrees or lower for refrigerator, and 0 degrees for freezer) you can buy thermometers made for this. Fresh Poultry, Fish or Ground Meats; cook or freeze within 2 days Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb or Pork, cook or freeze within 3-5 days Perishable meats, poultry and fish should be either securely wrapped or marinated, and stored in a separate container in the bottommost part of the refrigerator, to avoid dripping onto any other foodstuffs. Meats to be frozen should be remover from the original container (unless securely packaged), wrapped in either plastic wrap or butcher paper, then, again in foil, and possibly resealable plastic bags. IMPORTANT! Date your package! Preparation;.... Always wash hands in warm water and soap before handling food! Refer to step 1 on Cross contamination.... NEVER cut meat and vegetables on the same cutting board! Cutting boards, Knives, Utensils and Countertops can be sanitized by using a solution of 1 Tbsp liquid chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water. Thawing meats;.... Refrigerate; the best method for thawing, as it will keep your meat at a safe temperature. Cold Water; Usually for seafood, place into a container filled with cold water, and run a constant slow trickle of cold water to continue until thawed. DO NOT just fill container and seafood (or chicken, if need be) with water and let sit!