STOP Foodborne Illness is offering simple food safety tips to help prevent food poisoning throughout the holiday season. “Many people think foodborne illness won’t happen to them, but each year 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne pathogens,” said Darin Detwiler, senior policy coordinator for STOP Foodborne Illness. “STOP’s primary concern is keeping pathogens from reaching consumers in the first place, but until that happens, we want to help consumers buy, store and prepare food safely.” STOP Foodborne Illness’ Food Safety Guidelines for the Holidays (and All Winter Long)
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after preparing food. Winter is norovirus season – which is often spread by unwashed hands.
- Use a thermometer for cooking meat, poultry, and seafood ensuring the thickest part has reached a safe internal temperature: Poultry (including ground) 165ºF, burgers & ground meat 160°F, fish & shellfish 145ºF, whole cuts of meat (including pork) 145ºF. Make sure to wash the thermometer between readings.
- Avoid cross-contamination: When shopping, keep raw meat/poultry/seafood in separate plastic bags away from other foods in your cart and at checkout; use one cutting board for raw meat and a separate one for other perishables or clean and sanitize between use.
- Safely enjoy homemade eggnog, meringues, and other dishes containing raw eggs by using pasteurized eggs.
- Perishable foods that have been at room temperature for two hours are risky as pathogens can grow; a little bit of contamination becomes a large problem with time, eat leftovers within three days of refrigerating, ensure your fridge is below 41ºF. Reheat leftovers to 165ºF/boil sauces and gravies.
If you think you have been sickened from food, please contact STOP Foodborne Illness at 773-269-6555 or visit www.stopfoodborneillness.org. STOP Foodborne Illness helps foodborne illness victims navigate the health system to figure out what they have, where it might have come from, and what to do next. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)