As the end of the year approaches, many people will celebrate holidays by gathering with friends and family. Transporting food from one location to another and sharing dishes with a crowd means more opportunity for bacteria to grow and cause food poisoning. Follow these steps to keep family and guests safe this holiday season.
During holiday grocery shopping:
• Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood away from other foods in your grocery cart.
• Add cold foods to your cart last(so that they remain in their coolers longer).
• Ask the cashier to place your raw meat, poultry and seafood in a separate bag.
During food preparation and cooking:
• Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat items like vegetables or bread.
• Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils for raw meats and cooked meats to avoid cross contamination.
• Wash items such as cutting boards that have touched raw meat with warm water and soap, or place them in a dishwasher.
• Prepare uncooked recipes before those recipes that require raw meat.
• Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of dishes to ensure they are fully cooked and safe to eat.
• Fresh beef, pork, veal, and lamb should be cooked to 145 degrees with a three-minute rest time;
• Fish should be cooked to 145 degrees
• Ground beef, veal and lamb should be cooked to 155 degrees.
• Egg dishes should be cooked to 155 degrees.
• Poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees.
Fool proof tips when cooking for groups:
• Keep hot food hot and cold food cold, using chafing dishes or crock pots and ice trays. Hot items should remain above 135 degrees and cold items should remain below 41 degrees.
• Discard perishable foods left out for 2 hours or more.
Please visit www.foodsafety.gov for additional information.