Holiday Food Safety

1 – Hand washing. Keep your hands clean by effective hand washing with soap and water. Avoid using your bare hands to touch “ready-to-eat” foods. Ready-to-eat foods do not need to be cooked in order to be consumed. Examples are crackers, breads, cheeses, deli meats, veggies for a veggie tray, etc. 

2 – Food separation. Keep raw foods separate from the ready-to-eat foods. Store raw food below ready-to-eat foods. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and ready-to-eat foods.

3 – Cooking. Cook food to the proper temperature. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and seafood.  Proper cooking temperatures can kill harmful bacteria. 

4 – Avoid leaving food out for extended periods of time without some kind of temperature control. Meaning, keep cold foods cold and hot food hot. Easy, right? Bacteria can grow rapidly between 41 degrees F° and 135 degrees F°.  If you choose to leave food out without temperature control, discard the food within 4 hours. 

5 – Chill. Chill food quickly and refrigerate promptly at 41 degrees F° or lower to prevent bacteria from growing.  

In summary, food safety is important all year round, but especially during the holidays when we prepare and eat more food. Following these five simple tips can help protect yourself and your loved ones from food poisoning.