This holiday season and throughout the year, families gather to share in holiday food and the fun events. There are many chances to come in contact with unsafe food handling practices. By following these 11 food safety tips, we can reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
- Suds up for 20 seconds. Wash hands with soap under warm, running water before and after handling food to fight bacteria.
- Start with a clean scene. Wash cutting boards, dishes, countertops and utensils with hot water and soap.
- Keep food separate. Separate raw meat, seafood and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and in your refrigerator.
- Don’t rinse meat or poultry. It is not a safety step and can spread germs around your kitchen.
- Keep your refrigerator at 40F or below. Refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers within two hours.
- Read and follow package cooking-instructions. The instructions may call for a conventional oven, convection oven, toaster oven or microwave, and it’s important to use the proper appliance to ensure even cooking.
- Rinse fresh fruits and veggies under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.
- Place meat and poultry in plastic bag provided at the meat counter, and keep it in the plastic bag in your refrigerator at home.
- Never defrost at room temperature. Safely defrost food in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.
- Use a food thermometer. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that causes illness.
- Clean out your fridge. No leftovers past 3-4 days. Source: FightBac.org.
Plan to use leftover Thanksgiving food to make a soup with the turkey, gravy, vegetables and broth. Freeze left over turkey or ham in freezer bags labeled with contents and date. Use frozen leftovers within six months. Have a safe and healthful holiday celebration.
Julie Buck, EdD, MHE, RD, is a registered dietitian, food safety specialist and health educator employed at the University of Idaho Extension, Bingham County. She can be reached at (208)785.8060 or email@example.com.