Today, I was listening to a talk radio show that features health professionals. Two dietitians were on discussing food safety through the holidays. I can feel my mother’s eyes rolling as I type this, because they “never worried about such things.” But, we now know a little more than we did, and if you can keep everyone feeling good and enjoying the holidays with some simple tweaks in your kitchen, isn’t it worth it? Let’s discuss some simple things you can do to keep your party-goers merry and bright!
- Have everyone wash their hands, often. Sounds simple, and we often know to wash °hands after touching raw meat or after the bathroom, but, how many times do you think to wash hands after welcoming people and shaking hands? Or touching your phone to text directions whilst multitasking in the kitchen? Every time what your touch changes, you should wash your hands for 20 seconds, under hot water, with soap. And instruct anyone that may be stealing nibbles from plates before people arrive that they must do so as well.
- Clean cutting boards, plates, surfaces and containers often. Again, it seems like common sense, but if you are in a hurry, you may forget to clean out a container that had something in it before putting the leftovers right back inside. Anything raw meat touched should be sanitized, not just rinsed, before using again.
- Know safe temperatures. Most food items have directions which include the internal temperature before you can consider an item “cooked.” This helps make it easy to remember. But a few key temps to remember: 165° for poultry and anything reheated, 145° for steaks, pork, ham, and chops, 160° for egg-based dishes, and 145° for seafood.
- Know the 2 hour rule. Food should not sit at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. You can use warming plates for hot foods and put cold foods in a bowl with ice. After two hours, food should be discarded.
These are some of the most important things to consider. If you have questions or need to look up something not listed here, go to : www.fightbac.org. It is a great website with a lot of information about safe food handling procedures.
Stay healthy this season!