June 1, 2023

Holiday Food Safety Tips From the CDC Can Help Keep You Safe

The holidays are here, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering some tips for food safety. At this time of year, food poisoning outbreaks, especially those caused by Clostridium perfringens, can increase.

Holidays FPB

First, wash your hands. Wash them before, during and after preparing food; after touching raw meat or eggs or unwashed produce; before eating or drinking; after using the bathroom; before caring for someone who is ill; and before and after treating a cut or wound. Also wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after touching an animal, animal food, or animal waste; and after handling garbage.

Another holiday food safety tip: make sure that all of the food you cook is cooked to a safe final internal temperature. All ground meats should be cooked to 165°F. All poultry products should be cooked to 165°F. All pork products should be cooked to 145°F, as should fish and shellfish. Finally, intact beef products, such as roasts and steaks, should be cooked to a minimum temperature of 145°F. Roasts and other whole cuts should have a standing time of 3 minutes after those foods reach 145°F. Casseroles should be cooked to 165*F. And all leftovers should be reheated to 165°F.

Keep food out of the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F. Ignoring this point is how many Clostridium perfringens outbreaks occur. The bacteria grows easily in large batches of stew and gravy that are not kept hot enough. All foods should be refrigerated after 2 hours. Keep hot food hot using a warming plate or chafing dish, and keep cold foods cold.

Use pasteurized eggs for any recipes that call for raw eggs or lightly cooked eggs. That includes eggnog, tiramisu, hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad, and many dessert recipes.

Never eat uncooked dough or batter. Remember that flour is a safety hazard; there have been quite a few outbreaks linked to that product. Raw eggs are also a hazard in these uncooked products. Don’t make any play dough that uses uncooked flour.

Keep foods separated. Keep uncooked meats, poultry, eggs, and shellfish away from foods that are eaten raw. Cross-contamination happens easily between these foods. Prevent juices from raw meats and poultry from dripping onto other foods in the fridge by keeping them in containers or sealed packages.

Finally, safely thaw your turkey or cook turkey from the frozen state. Never wash or rinse produce because that can spread bacteria around your kitchen.

Follow these holiday food safety tips and have a wonderful season.

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