Holiday Food Safety Tips
The holiday season is a good time to remind yourself and family members of basic food safety tips:
- Wash your hands, utensils and food surfaces with warm, soapy water before and after handling or preparing food. If cutting raw meat, use hot, soapy water and bleach to wash utensils, cutting board and other surfaces.
- Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross-contamination.
- Cook foods to a safe temperature using a food thermometer. Ground beef should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and steaks and roasts should be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Pork should be cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and chicken and turkey should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Fish is generally well cooked at 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly, within two hours of purchasing or preparing them. If the room or air temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, refrigerate perishable foods within one hour.
- Defrost safely. Do not thaw foods at room temperature. Instead, defrost foods in the refrigerator or microwave the food using the “defrost” or “50 percent power” setting.
- If you aren't sure if a food has been prepared, served or stored safely, discard it. Food left at room temperature too long may contain bacteria or toxins that can't be destroyed by cooking.
- Food poisoning is especially serious and potentially life threatening for young children, pregnant women and their fetuses, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. These individuals should take extra precautions.
Source: Mayo Clinic