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Food Safety During the Holidays

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Food Safety During the Holidays

The holiday season can be a wonderful time to get together with family and friends and often times these gatherings are often accompanied by delicious food.  Here are a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Your guests will thank you later!

#1. Wash your hands.  Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is one of the most important ways to stop the spread of germs.   Here are some times when it is appropriate to wash your hands. Remember, when in doubt, wash.

  • Before and after meal prep

  • Before and after touching your face, mouth, etc.

  • Before and after sneezing or coughing

  • Before and after touching raw meat, raw eggs, or raw veggies

  • Before and after touching animals

  • Before and after using the toilet

  • Before and after touching garbage

#2. Cook food thoroughly.  Use a food grade thermometer and cook all meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs to the appropriate temperature.  Serving undercooked foods increases the risk of certain bacteria. Here is a link for safe cooking temperatures: https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/safe-minimum-cooking-temperature

#3.  Thaw turkey and other meats safely.  Meat should not be thawed on the counter, as this can promote harmful bacteria growth.  The best ways to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator, microwave, or in a sink full of cold water changing every 30 minutes.

#4. Store foods at the appropriate temperature after cooking.  Once foods are cooked, they should be kept hot or cold. Foods should not be left out on the table for more than 2 hours, instead store them in the refrigerator or freezer.

#5. Keep certain foods separated.  Keep meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs separated in the refrigerator and while cooking.  Be careful to avoid cross-contamination of juices by using a clean knife, cutting board, and other cooking utensils for each food.

#6. Do not eat raw dough or batter.  Eating raw dough, that contains certain flour and eggs, prior to baking can increase chances of ingesting Salmonella and E Coli.

Following these tips can reduce the risk of food related illness and help keep you and your guests safe.  Happy Holidays!

For a more complete list visit https://www.cdc.gov/features/holidayfoodsafety/index.html.