Holiday Food Safety

The holidays are approaching fast and, of course, with the holiday season comes holiday food! But many people don’t realize the most important ingredient for preparing your holiday meals is food safety.

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

Be sure to wash your hands and food surfaces often.

Don’t cross contaminate! This is how bacteria can spread form one food item to another. This is especially true with raw meat, poultry and seafood, so keep these foods and their juices away from foods that aren’t going to be cooked.

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. Use a clean thermometer and be sure if you are reheating food, leftover should be heated to 165° F.

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 no matter what you do, foodborne illness happens, but it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms. Oftentimes, people think their illness was caused by their last meal, but in fact, most foodborne bacteria take about 1-3 days to make you ill. If you get sick with foodborne 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 of 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 CCHD so we can investigate and determine if any action needs to be taken.

Visit the following links to learn more about how to make your holiday feasts not only tasty, but healthy and safe as well!

Purchasing, preparing and storing holiday food

USDA Fall and Winter Food Safety

FDA Foodborne Illness Causing Organisms—What you need to know