Did you know that 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year alone? Holiday celebrations can be fun and festive unless someone gets sick. It’s important to keep in mind the following 4 steps to protect you and your loved ones from food poisoning.
Following four simple steps from foodsafety.gov – clean, separate, cook and, chill – can help keep your family safe from food poisoning at home. Here are highlights on how to keep safe this holiday season:
Wash your hands the right way (and often!), washing surfaces and utensils after each use, and wash fruits and vegetables, but not meat, poultry, or eggs.
Separation is focused on preventing cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards and plates for produce, meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs, and keep certain types of food separate in your refrigerator and also in your shopping cart and bags on the trip home.
3. Cook to the right temperature
Food is safely cooked when the internal temperature is high enough to kill germs that can make you sick, and those temperatures vary depending on what food you are preparing. Download this Minimum Cooking Temperature Chart for details. It’s also important to keep your hot foods hot after cooking, because bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest when they are in the “temperature danger zone” between 40°F and 140°F.
Refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours to protect them from being in the temperature danger zone. Did you know it’s best to cool food in shallow containers without lids in the refrigerator? Wait until the food is cold, below 45 degrees F before you put on the lid.
More information about food safety and foodborne germs and illnesses can be found at www.cdc.gov/foodsafety. Happy holidays!