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Life and Health

Safe Food Handling Tips for Your Holiday Meals

By December 5, 2014No Comments

It’s holiday meal time. Are you ready to prep your food safely? Utilize safe food handling tips to ensure you and your guests remain healthy as you indulge in your favorite foods together this year.

Wash Your Hands

Hot soapy water kills germs on your hands before and after you handle food. Be sure to scrub for at least 20 seconds.

Use Sanitized Cutting Materials

From the knives to the cutting boards, use only sanitized cutting materials to slice, chop and dice ingredients. Never cut raw meat and other foods with the same knife or on the same cutting board either unless those cutting materials have been washed thoroughly.

Thaw and Marinate Properly

Tightly packaged turkey, ham and other frozen foods thaw and marinate safely in the refrigerator. Don’t let them sit on the counter to thaw or marinate because bacteria multiplies quickly at room temperature and can cause food poisoning or food spoilage.

Cook to the Right Temperature

Use a food thermometer and check the internal temperature of all hot dishes before you take them out of the oven or microwave. Suggested temperatures are:

  • Beef, Lamb and Veal Roasts, Steaks and Chops: 160-170 F
  • Pork: 160 F
  • Turkey and Chicken Breasts: 170 F
  • Turkey and Chicken Legs, Wings and Thighs: 180 F

If you don’t have a thermometer, look for signs of doneness. Thoroughly cooked food steams, poultry and chicken juice runs clear, fish flakes easily and egg yolks look firm not runny.

Refrigerate Leftovers Promptly

No matter how carefully you plan the food, you’ll probably have leftovers. Chill Aunt Sally’s carrot soufflé and grandma’s pumpkin pie within two hours. If you leave them on the counter, they could grow bacteria and spoil.

Replace Towels Regularly

Dish towels, wash clothes and sponges clean your dishes, but they also harbor bacteria. As you prep your holiday feast, remember to switch the towels regularly. Wash towels and dish clothes in hot bleach water, and pop sponges onto the top shelf of the dishwasher.

With these food handling safety tips, you’re ready to enjoy your holiday meals and stay healthy. Happy cooking!