November 8, 2023
Follow a few simple rules to prevent unwanted bacterial guest from crashing the party.
The holiday season is upon us! And with it comes potlucks and get togethers revolving around some of our favorite festive meals and treats. Good food is always one of the biggest highlights this time of year. But a good time can quickly turn into a miserable time without proper food safety.
Ensure you keep yourself and your family safe this holiday season by practicing these food safety rules to prevent foodborne illness.
Keep it clean
First things first, always wash your hands with soap and warm water before preparing food or eating, as well as throughout the cooking process. This is the most important step in preventing foodborne illness.
Make every effort to keep your prep and cooking area clean and tidy throughout the cooking process. Cleaning as you can go a long way toward preventing cross contamination.
Keep foods such as raw meat and eggs separate from all other foods when grocery shopping, storing, and cooking. Raw meat should always be stored below other foods in the fridge to prevent them from leaking or contaminating other items. You can also store your meat in sealed plastic bags or containers as an extra precaution.
Use separate cooking utensils when cooking meat vs other foods items such as potatoes or vegetables. Using the same utensil may transmit harmful bacteria from one food to another during the cooking process.
Once your stomach is full, the work is not over. Temperature control is often overlooked at holiday parties, especially when serving buffet style. Not keeping hot food hot (above 140 degrees) and cold food cold (below 40 degrees) can create opportunities for bacteria to thrive and increase the risk of foodborne illness.
Take some time directly after everyone has finished eating, ideally no longer than 2 hours, to properly store food in the fridge or freezer. And keep temperature sensitive desserts in the fridge or oven until everyone is ready for them.
Bust out a thermometer
Sometimes undercooked foods are considered a delicacy, but did you know not cooking your food to a safe internal temperature significantly increases your risk of foodborne illness? We recommend using a food thermometer so you can measure temperature instead of guessing. As a bonus – food is often at its best when you nail the cooking temperature.
It’s important to be sure you cook foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, or seafood to a safe internal temperature before consuming yourself or serving to others. Visit Cook to a Safe Minimum Internal Temperature | FoodSafety.gov to learn what a safe minimum internal temperature is for different foods.
Following these simple food safety rules will prevent unwanted bacterial guests from crashing the party so you and your loved ones can have a happy and healthy holiday season.