July 14, 2024

More Holiday Food Safety Advice from the FDA

The FDA is offering holiday food safety advice to help keep you and your family safe and healthy during the season. They have several food safety videos, a food safety success kit, and information about ready-to-cook foods, and general tips. If you are hosting a party or a meal for anyone in a high risk group, it's critical that you are very careful about food safety. Those people include older adults, infants, young children, pregnant women, people with any chronic illness such as HIV/AIDS and cancer, and those who take medication to suppress their immune systems. Following the four basic food safety measures to the letter can help prevent foodborne illness. Always keep everything clean, separate foods to avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to a safe final internal temperature, … [Read more...]

Holiday Leftovers Storage Times and Tips

After the holidays, many people have lots of leftovers in their fridge. Using them up makes good sense economically.  But how long do these foods last? FoodSafety.gov has a convenient chart that will help you keep your family safe. Most cooked meats last three to five days in the fridge. After that time, they should be frozen for longer storage. Make sure you properly wrap the foods in freezer wrap and containers, label them, and freeze at 0 degrees F or below. Salads and side dishes last three to five days as well. Once you've properly stored leftovers, you must follow rules to thaw and reheat them safely. The USDA offers tips on this topic. Frozen foods can be reheated without thawing; the reheating time is just going to be longer. Be sure that leftovers reach 165 degrees F, and … [Read more...]

Hosting a Holiday Buffet? The USDA Can Help

If you're hosting a holiday buffet, there are some things you need to know about food safety. The USDA has a seasonal food safety fact sheet that can help. Follow the four rules carefully: cook food to a safe final temperature, clean well before, during, and after cooking, separate raw foods from cooked, and chill perishable foods within two hours of cooking. All raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal cuts must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degree F. That means medium doneness! All ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal should be cooked to 160 degrees F. And all poultry must be cooked to 165 degrees F. Follow the two hour rule: never let perishable foods sit at room temperature longer than two hours. That means cold salads as well as hot casseroles and meats. Keep track of … [Read more...]

Hosting A Holiday Party? Take A Food Safety Quiz

Do you know how long perishable food can be out at room temperature before it spoils? To what temperature poultry should be cooked? Or, the proper temperature for your refrigerator? The holiday season is a time when public health officials publish lots of food safety advice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, has a tips on safe road travel, how to prepare safely prepare a turkey, food safety tips for pregnant women, a three-and-a-half minute podcast called “Holiday Food Safety” and holiday safety tips set to song. FoodSafety.gov has links to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) “Fun Platters” and “Buffet Bonanza” and the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) “Holiday or Party Buffets,” “Keeping Food Safe on the Buffet Table,” and “Be Food … [Read more...]

Hotline Answers “Panic Button” Food Safety Questions

When you're entertaining and preparing a big dinner, and have a question about food safety, where do you turn? The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has compiled a list of "panic button" food safety questions along with answers you can use. The questions range from what to do if you cook the turkey with the giblet packet still inside, to whether or not it's safe to cook a roast that's been left out of refrigeration for hours. Did you know you should never prestuff a turkey? Or that there is a minimum safe oven temperature for roasting meats? Do you know how to keep a ham hot and safe for hours? More Fact Sheets on safe food handling are available at the USDA site. And remember that the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline, at 1-800-535-4555  is open for questions weekdays … [Read more...]

Australians Have Something to Teach Us: Avoid Raw Eggs

The Australian Food Safety Information council has released a document warning people about the use of raw eggs. It's summer down under, and food poisoning cases related to eggs can increase in the warmer months. But this information is applicable to everyone, even if it's -40 degrees F outside. I did a search on the Australian Department of Health and Ageing page, and found twenty reports of Salmonella outbreaks linked to raw and undercooked eggs. In fact, Food Safety Information Chairman Dr. Michael Eyles says that "dishes containing uncooked or minimally cooked eggs can be a particular risk for food poisoning. OzFoodNet has shown that consumption of foods containing raw or minimally cooked eggs is currently the single largest cause of foodborne Salmonella outbreaks [in … [Read more...]

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