Holiday Food Safety Tips

Cooking and eating are a big part of the holiday’s. Making a big family dinner, going to dinner parties, eating various candy, is all part of the holiday tradition. To help everyone have fun, stay safe and well, you will want to do everything as safely as possible.

Food Safety:

Remember, you can’t see, taste, or smell bacteria. It can be on food and multiply rapidly in moist, warm conditions. If consumed, harmful bacteria can cause food borne illness.

Wash your hands and surfaces often. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, etc., with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.

Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water. There is no need to wash or rinse meat or poultry.

Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods while shopping, preparing or storing. Never put cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, seafood, or poultry.

Some foods may contain uncooked or lightly-cooked eggs, but even grade A eggs with clean, uncracked shells can be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Which is why it is important to thoroughly cook eggs to kill any bacteria that may be present.

Don’t lick spoons, mixing bowls or any other utensils that have batter that contains uncooked eggs.

Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours or sooner (1 hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees F.) If you’re not serving it right away, refrigerate it.

It is not safe to cook any meat or poultry in an oven set lower than 325 degrees F.

Do not refrigerate a cooked turkey whole. Cut whole or large pieces of poultry into small pieces. It’s okay to leave drumsticks, thighs and wings intact. Refrigerate in covered shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking.

If purchasing a pre-stuffed turkey, only buy a frozen one that display’s the USDA or State mark of inspection on the packaging. Do not thaw it before cooking. It must be cooked from the frozen state. Follow the package directions for safe handling and cooking.

Cook food to a safe internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to be sure.

Cooking Fire Safety:

Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you are going to leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove/oven.

If you are simmering, roasting, baking, or boiling food, check on it regularly. Remain in the home while food is cooking. Use a timer to remind you to check on it and when it’s done.

Be alert. To prevent cooking fires, you have to stay alert. If you are sleepy, have taken medicine that makes you tired or have been drinking alcohol you won’t be alert.

Keep anything that can catch fire, such as, potholders, paper, paper or plastic bags, towels, oven mitts, wooden utensils, or curtains away from the stovetop.

Keep the stovetop, burners and oven clean.

Do not wear loose clothing that can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire if it comes into contact with an electric burner or gas flame. Only wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled up sleeves while cooking.

Never plug a cooking appliance into an extension cord, it can overload the circuit and cause a fire. Plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet only.

Teach children that hot things will burn. Keep hot foods and liquids away from the counter or table edges. Use the stove’s back burners if there are young children in the home. Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, eating, or carrying hot food or liquids.

Being more attentive can prevent many incidences from happening and keep your holidays safe and happy.