Food safety is uber important since it’s something we are surrounded by daily. This month is National Food Safety Month, a time to bring awareness to the importance of keeping foods at proper temperatures, knowing how long food can be left at room temperature, and much more.

Taking proper safety precautions can help you avoid unwanted and avoidable food-borne illnesses, also known as food poisoning. There are four core practices to focus on including clean, separate, cook and chill.

Clean: Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap before handling foods. Wash all cutting boards, utensils and tabletops with hot soapy water. Rinse fresh produce with cold water before preparing.

Separate: Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination. Prevent cross-contamination by using a separate cutting board for raw meat and another for ready-to-eat foods like fresh produce. Also, don’t rinse chicken, meat, eggs or seafood before cooking or reuse marinade.

Cook: Use a food thermometer for the easiest way to know if you’re cooking food to a safe temperature. Since the safe temperatures vary depending on the food you’re cooking, use this safe temperature cooking guide.

Chill: Be sure to keep your refrigerator at a safe level of 40F or below and refrigerate meat, poultry, eggs and other refrigerated foods as soon as you get them home from the grocery store. Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours or one hour if the food is exposed to temperatures of 90F or warmer.

Also, remember to never thaw food at room temperature. Use either your refrigerator, or microwave, or place the food in cold water to thaw. And keep raw meat on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to avoid drips contaminating other food.