The holidays are here, which means you’re probably getting ready to share meals and merriment with families and friends.
This can be a fantastic and yummy time of the year. But if you don’t take care while preparing all that delicious holiday food, you can put people at risk for food poisoning.
Anyone can get sick from food poisoning, but some folks are at higher risk. Kids under age 5, seniors and women who are pregnant are all more likely to get sick from food and have a serious illness.
Luckily, preventing food poisoning can be easy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has these tips to help home chefs create safe Thanksgiving meals:
• Wash your hands often while cooking. Use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hands on a clean paper towel, not a dirty apron or towel.
• Prevent cross-contamination. Clean surfaces as you go, including sinks and counters. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for meat and other food. That way, you won’t end up with raw turkey juice in your salad. (Blech!)
• Cook the turkey to 165 degrees. Use a food thermometer to check it’s done, and never rely on those cheap pop-up ones that come with the turkey.
• Follow the two-hour rule. If all your food hasn’t been gobbled up two hours after you’ve set it out on the table, it’s time to wrap it up and stick it in the fridge. Any leftovers that are perishable should be eaten or frozen within three to four days.
For more seasonal food prep tips, check out FoodSafety.gov.
If you have questions while cooking your turkey, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.
Have a happy, healthy holiday!
By USDA FoodSafety.gov