Parties, potlucks, and other celebrations can be some of the most enjoyable moments of the holiday season. But these get-togethers tend to involve food, and people bringing food to these special events can increase the potential for foodborne illnesses.
Are you preparing food for a special holiday event with friends and family? Reduce your risk of foodborne illness by following these safe food handling procedures:
- Clean: Anyone preparing food should use soap and water to wash their hands, clean kitchen surfaces like countertops, and clean any utensils to be used.
- Separate: Use different cutting boards to ensure that raw meats stay separated from other foods you’re preparing.
- Cook: Use a food thermometer to make sure you’re cooking foods to the proper temperature.
- Chill: Quickly chill raw and prepared foods.
When you’re preparing meat and poultry for a holiday get-together, also remember to keep these tips in mind:
- Thaw your meat/poultry before cooking it so that it cooks more evenly. You can thaw it slowly but safely in your refrigerator. If you need to thaw it more quickly, you can use your microwave to defrost it, but only if it will be put on the grill immediately afterward.
- Marinate meat or poultry in your refrigerator, not on your counter.
- If you’re going to be transporting food to another event or location, use an insulated cooler with ice packs; the cooler needs to keep your food at a temperature of under 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Refrigerate any leftovers quickly, and throw out any food that’s been left out for over 2 hours.
Get more helpful tips on food safety by visiting www.foodsafety.gov.
Also, if you become ill and think you may have food poisoning, call your doctor right away. Your doctor should evaluate you to rule out any other illnesses and then advise you how to care for yourself as you recover.