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Holiday Food Safety Tips

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Learn more about food safety tips: As the holidays arrive once again, families everywhere are making plans for holiday feasts. With all the excitement in the air, food safety is probably the last thing on your mind when planning a holiday dinner. But to make sure your gathering is a memorable one, it’s important to take steps to protect your family and friends from foodborne illnesses.

How to Celebrate Safely

First and foremost, plan ahead – make sure the location meets your needs. Be sure you have enough oven, stovetop, refrigerator, freezer, and work space. Find out if there’s a source of clean water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning.

Any perishable foods that are not served with a hot source (such as chafing dishes or slow cooker) or cold source (by resting serving dishes in bowls of ice) should be discarded after two hours at room temperature. The danger zone of 40°F to 140°F allows bacteria to multiply, so It’s important that hot food on a buffet remain at 140 °F or above.

Preparing the bird & stuffing: To cook safely, place a raw stuffed or unstuffed bird in a preheated oven set to 325°F or higher. The turkey must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F, as measured with a food thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh, the wing, the thickest part of the breast, including any that remains pink.

Need to Reheat? Food must be hot and steamy for serving. Just “warmed up” is not good enough. Use the stove, oven, or microwave to reheat food to 165°F. Bring sauces, soups, and gravies to a boil.

Wash your hands thoroughly before, during, and after food preparation.  Hand washing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to minimize bacterial contamination and keep your food safe. Always wash with soap and hot water up to your wrists and between your fingers for at least 20 seconds.

Don’t be a turkey about food safety this holiday season

“Don’t let a foodborne illness be the Grinch that ruins your holiday season,” said Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety. “We’re here to prepare consumers—hosts and revelers alike—with the information they need to prevent foodborne illness as they create memories that last a lifetime.”

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