Keeping food borne illness out of your holiday plans
Whether you are an experienced cook, or a novice preparing your first holiday meal, the Oregon State University Extension Service wants to help you avoid a food borne illness (FBI) this holiday season, by providing you with knowledge and research-based simple tips to help you plan for, prepare, serve, and store tasty and food-safe holiday foods.
Sharing dishes with a group provides multiple opportunities for bacteria to grow and cause a FBI. Pregnant women, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for becoming sick with a serious FBI. Implement the following simple practices to maintain a FBI-free holiday zone:
Clean: Keep all cooking surfaces, including cutting boards, knives, and countertops free of bacteria by cleaning with hot soapy water before and during cooking. Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
Separate: Avoid spreading bacteria via cross-contamination. Use one cutting board for fresh produce, and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Prepare uncooked recipes before recipes containing raw meat, and store raw meat away from other dishes.
Cook: Keep hot food at 140 degrees F and cold food below 40 degrees F. Use a food thermometer to ensure the juiciest food-safe meats. Roasts should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees, and turkey an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, including the stuffing. You cannot tell whether a food is cooked to doneness by how it looks, no matter how skilled a cook you are.