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Holiday Cooking Food Safety Tips
Holiday Cooking Food Safety Tips

Holiday Cooking Food Safety Tips

During the holidays, many people prepare one of the biggest meals they will prepare all year. Cooking large meals with various meats, multiple side dishes and desserts can present food safety challenges. One in six Americans could get sick from food poisoning this year alone, and it could also have long-term health consequences.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) wants to ensure that all Ohioans and their families and guests have a safe and healthy holiday season. Following four simple steps—clean, separate, cook and chill—can help keep your family safe from food poisoning at home.

Along with ODH, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers great tips to prevent foodborne illness for  wholesome and safe holidays:

  • Wash hands the right way for 20 seconds with soap and running water before, during and after preparing food

  • Wash surfaces and utensils after each use, and wash fruits and vegetables—but not meat, poultry or eggs

  • Use separate cutting boards and plates for produce and other foods

  • Do not use the same spoon for stirring and tasting; it can spread bacteria and viruses

  • Never thaw or marinate foods on the counter—thaw meat and poultry in the refrigerator, completely submerged in running cool water or in the microwave

  • To avoid harmful bacteria growth and food poisoning, prepare wet and dry ingredients separately

  • No matter how good it looks, you can only tell if food is safely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F; always use a food thermometer

  • Pies, cookies and other desserts may contain milk and eggs, so first bake them to the safe minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees F, then refrigerate after baking

  • Keep food hot after cooking (at least 140 degrees F) and microwave food thoroughly (to 165 degrees F)

  • Refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers within two hours of cooking and consume within three to four days or freeze.