Public Service Announcement

LBI Health Department Says Cook Safe for the Holidays

Nov 10, 2018

The most wonderful time of the year is already here. Some of us stay home for the holidays; others travel to visit relatives or friends. Regardless of the destination, food is always part of the celebration.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service reminds us of a few food safety tips to ensure the food you prepare and serve to your friends and family is safe and your holiday season won’t be remembered for the wrong reason – food poisoning.

Let’s start in the kitchen with the four steps to food safety:

• Clean your hands for 20 seconds with soapy water. Always serve food on clean plates and avoid reusing plates that previously held raw meat and poultry.

• Separate raw and cooked foods so you don’t cross contaminate.

• Cook using a food thermometer to make sure food reaches a safe minimum internal temperature.

• Chill leftovers within two hours of cooking. Keep track of how long items have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything that has been out longer than two hours.

There is a wide variety of traditional dishes and family recipes that require specific preparations. When cooking these party foods, make sure to cook them to the correct internal temperatures to destroy food poisoning bacteria.

• Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F. For reasons of personal preference, you may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures. 

Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees as measured with a food thermometer.

If you are invited to a holiday party and plan to bring your famous holiday dish or if you are traveling to visit relatives or friends, be sure to keep hot foods hot (140 degrees or above) by carrying them in insulated containers. If you’re transporting cold food, keep it cold (40 degrees or below) by carrying it with cold sources such as ice or frozen gel packs. The best way to ensure food is being held at a safe temperature while you are traveling is to pack and use an appliance thermometer in the cooler.

Visit the USDA website or foodsafety.gov for additional information on proper food preparation during holidays and throughout the year.

The Long Beach Island Health Department wishes you a safe holiday season and a healthy New Year. Visit us on facebook or at lbihealth.com.

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