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Governor Whitmer Proclaims September as Michigan Food Safety Education and Awareness Month

LANSING, MI – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed September as Michigan Food Safety Education and Awareness Month, encouraging Michiganders to celebrate the importance of food safety with educational activities and observances promoting food safety measures. September is also National Food Safety Education Month providing the perfect opportunity to review safe food handling practices in retail and restaurant settings and in home kitchens.

"Michigan is known for our food and agriculture industry which cultivates fresh, high-quality food for dinner tables across the nation, and this month we can work together to highlight important proper food safety practices,” said Governor Whitmer. “Following safe food handling guidelines helps keep you and those around you free from foodborne illness. It's up to each of us to do our part to protect the food we eat and serve to guests, family, and friends. I will work with anyone to improve food safety education and awareness and support our farmers. The bipartisan budget I recently signed supports Michigan's food safety net, empowering farmers and local economies in every region of the state. "

Protecting the food supply, reducing the risk of foodborne illness, and responding to foodborne illness outbreaks are high priority efforts for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the state’s local health departments, and federal agency partners.

“Every Michigander plays a role in keeping food safe, wholesome, and nutritious. Food safety is a team effort," said Gary McDowell, MDARD director. “Foodborne illness is much more than the ‘stomach flu’, can be a serious health issue and economic burden for consumers and the food industry alike."

Here are a few simple steps to take to keep food safe:

Clean -- Illness-causing bacteria can be anywhere.
Make sure everything touching food is clean, including hands, surfaces, cutting boards and utensils.
Wash all fruits and vegetables under running water.

Separate -- Bacteria from meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread to other foods.
Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods while shopping and when storing them in your refrigerator.
Use separate cutting boards and plates for fruits and vegetables and for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.

Cook -- Cooked food is safe only after it’s been heated to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria.
Cook food to the proper temperature and use a thermometer to determine doneness.
Different foods have different minimum cooking temperatures for safety. Use this chart to make sure you cook to the proper internal temperature.

Chill -- Raw meat and poultry, and cooked leftovers, need to be chilled promptly to prevent bacteria from growing.
Discard any food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 °F).
Place food into shallow containers and immediately put in the refrigerator or freezer for fast cooling.

Healthy Handwashing Hints

Use plain soap and water. Scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails for at least 20 seconds.
Rinse hands, then dry with a clean towel.
Wash your hands often, especially during these key times when germs can spread:
o Before, during, and after preparing food
o After handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, or their juices, or uncooked eggs
o Before eating
o After using the toilet, changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
o After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
o After touching garbage
o Before and after caring for someone who is sick
o Before and after treating a cut or wound
o After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
o After handling pet food or pet treats

MI Food Safety Education and Awareness Month

For more information on how to prevent foodborne illness or how to report suspected cases of foodborne illness, visit