Food Safety this Holiday Season

The holidays are approaching fast, so as holiday feasts are prepared, remember the most important ingredient for a holiday meal is food safetyUsing simple food safety steps can help to ensure that you and your family will enjoy a healthy and happy holiday. 

Four basic rules of food safety can help prevent food borne illness from ruining the holidays for you and your loved ones. 

1-    Clean:             Be sure to wash your hands and food surfaces often.

2-    Separate:        Don’t cross contaminate!  Keep foods that are not going to be cooked away from those foods (and their juices) that are cooked.  This is how bacteria can spread from one food item to another.  This is especially true with raw meat, poultry and seafood.

3-   Cook:              Use proper temperatures to cook your food.  Heating your food at a high enough temperature for a long enough time can help ensure safely cooked food.  Be sure to use a clean thermometer and if you are reheating leftovers, they should be heated to 165°F.

4-   Chill:               Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from multiplying.  Set your refrigerator to 40°F or below and your freezer to 0°F or below.

 “Sometimes, regardless of any precautions you take, food borne illness happens, but recognizing the signs and symptoms early and taking action can prevent the spread of illness,” says Sandy Johnson, Environmental Health Manager for CCHD.  Oftentimes, the most recent meal is thought to be the cause; however, most food borne bacteria takes about 1-3 days to make you ill.  If you get sick with food borne illness, you might have stomach cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea.  You may have flu like symptoms as well.  Consult with your physician if you have any concerns or if your symptoms worsen and as always, wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of your illness.

If you suspect you became ill from eating out, contact the City-County Health Department Environmental Health Division.  Please call 454-6950 or click here for more information on holiday food safety.

Click here to visit CCHD’s Environmental Health Division.