|With the holidays comes food, food, and more food. Unfortunately, with all the food and all the resulting leftovers the chances of food-borne illness increases. Following some basic safety guidelines will help to keep you and your family safe from food related illness
At The Store
- Pay Attention to "Sell By" and "Use By" dates.
- Make sure frozen food is solid, refrigerated foods are cold and packages are not torn or punctured.
- Place raw poultry, meet, or fish in separate bags before putting them in your cart to prevent leakage.
- Pick up perishable foods last before checking out to help maintain temperature.
- Put perishable foods in the refrigerator or freezer first.
- Place meat, fish, and poultry in separate plastic bags and on plates, to prevent leaks.
- Use beef, deli meats, and poultry within a few days; use fish within one or two days.
- Maintain refrigerator temperature at 35 to 40 degrees; keep the freezer at or below zero.
- DO NOT defrost meat, poultry or fish on a kitchen counter or in warm water. Bacteria thrive between 40 and 140 degrees F.
- Cook defrosted meats immediately.
- Keep everything (hands, utensils, bowls, counters) that touches food clean.
- Wash hands with warm soapy water before preparing any food and after handling raw meat, poultry or fish.
- Use separate platters, cutting boards, trays and utensils for cooked and uncooked meat, poultry, and fish.
- Keep raw poultry, meat and fish juices from other foods
- Cook ground meats thoroughly to an internal temperature of 160 degrees; use a thermometer to be sure.
- DO NOT cook meats at below 300 degrees.
- DO NOT use brown paper bags for roasting.
- Cook stuffing for turkey or chicken separately, not in the cavity of the bird.
- DO NOT interrupt cooking time and finish later.
- Baste or brush sauces only on cooked meat.
- DO NOT leave cooked meat or other perishable foods at room temperature for longer than two hours.
- When serving buffet style, keep cold foods on ice.
- DO NOT mix buffet foods by adding new foods to existing buffet items.
- Use separate plates, platters or trays for holding raw and uncooked foods.
- If using utensils for both raw and uncooked foods, wash them thoroughly in between uses with war, soapy water
- Freeze or refrigerate leftovers immediately.
- Leftover meat, fish, and poultry should be wrapped securely before refrigerating.
- Eat leftover meat, fish, and poultry within three to four days and reheat to 165 degrees or until steaming hot.
- Sauces and gravies should be reheated to a rolling boil for at least one minute before serving
For more information on holiday food safety please visit the CDC's food safety web page.