Feasting with family is part of many holiday celebrations. Follow these tips to help prevent food poisoning, or foodborne illness, during the holidays.
•Keep food separated. Keep meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods at the grocery store and in the refrigerator. Prevent juices from meat, chicken, turkey, and seafood from dripping or leaking onto other foods by keeping them in containers or sealed plastic bags and storing on the lower levels of the refrigerator. Store eggs in their original carton in the main compartment of the refrigerator.
•Cook food thoroughly. Meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs can carry germs that cause food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to ensure these foods have been cooked to a safe internal temperature. Roasts, chops, steaks, and fresh ham should rest for 3 minutes after you remove them from the oven or grill.
•Keep food out of the “danger zone.” Bacteria can grow rapidly in the danger zone between 41°F and 135°F. After food is prepared, keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Refrigerate or freeze any perishable food within 2 hours (1 hour if food is exposed to temperatures above 90°F, such as in a hot car). The temperature in your refrigerator should be set at or below 40°F and the freezer at or below 0°F.
•Do not eat raw dough or batter. Do not taste or eat raw dough or batter that is meant to be baked or cooked.
•Wash your hands. Wash your hands with soap and water before beginning any kind of food preparation, between different kinds of food preparation, after handling raw meat or eggs, between handling raw and cooked food items.
•Prevent cross contamination. Avoid getting germs on newly cooked foods by using fresh or washed trays/platters for cooked foods. Do not re-use the plate that held raw chicken for the cooked chicken.