Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

By the bioMérieux Connection Editors

Sharing a meal with family and friends is a time-honored tradition during the holidays, and everyone bringing their favorite dish creates a must-try-them-all situation. Your sister brings the potatoes, you cook the ham, and Grandma bakes her famous pecan pie—and that’s just the beginning.

When sharing your meal this holiday season, make sure you, your family, and friends use good food safety practices. Food-borne illness can spread more quickly when serving food for large groups of people. The CDC recommends that you follow these tips to keep you and your family healthy:

  1. Cook food thoroughly. Meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs can carry germs that cause food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to ensure these foods have been cooked to a safe internal temperature. 
  2. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Bacteria can grow rapidly in the danger zone between 40°F and 140°F. Refrigerate or freeze any perishable food within 2 hours. The temperature in your refrigerator should be set at or below 40°F and the freezer at or below 0°F.
  3. Don’t eat that cookie dough! Dough and batter made with flour or eggs can contain harmful germs, such as pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella. You should not taste or eat raw dough or batter that is meant to be baked.
  4. Store and reheat leftovers right away. Leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as possible within two hours of preparation. The CDC recommends heating up leftovers to 165°F before serving. Keep in mind certain leftovers can only be stored for so long before they should be tossed.
  5. Scrub-a-dub-dub. Wash your hands with soapy water during key times when you are likely to spread germs.

Certain people may be at a higher risk of developing a food-borne illness. This includes young children, older adults, and pregnant women. If you’re at increased risk, take extra care to ensure you’re eating food that has been properly cooked and/or cared for.

Stay healthy this holiday season and spread the word about food safety along with holiday cheer!

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of bioMérieux, Inc.

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