FORCE BASE, Calif. – With the holidays around the corner, there
is bound to be an abundance of delicious foods at parties, family dinners and other gatherings. However, the merriment can quickly change to
misery if food makes you or others ill.
To keep everyone safe from food
poisoning or foodborne illness, follow these tips.
Clean: Wash hands frequently with warm water and soap
for 20 seconds before and throughout food preparation. Wash food-contact surfaces such as cutting
boards, utensils and countertops. Also, wash them in between preparing each
food item. Rinse fruits and vegetables
under cool water before eating, but don’t rinse raw meat or poultry.
Separate: Avoid cross contamination by keeping raw eggs, meats, poultry and
seafood away from other foods that may be eaten raw. Use separate cutting boards, plates and
utensils for raw and cooked food.
Cook: Cook food at a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria. Color
is not an indicator of doneness, use a food thermometer. The minimum safety
temperature for different kinds of meats are 145°F for pork, beef, veal lamb
and 165°F for poultry. Dressing,
whether cooked inside or outside the bird, also must be cooked to an internal
temperature of 165ºF. Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating. Do not
eat raw or uncooked dough which may contain raw eggs.
Chill: Refrigerate foods quickly to limit bacteria
growth that occurs at room temperature, typically within two hours. Set the refrigerator temperature at or below
40ºF and the freezer at 0ºF. Store
pumpkin pie in refrigerator after baking.
Defrosting: Never defrost food at room temperature or on
the counter top. Instead, leave in the original wrapping and defrost in the
refrigerator, under cold, running water or in the microwave. Food thawed in
cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately. Allow the correct amount of time to properly
thaw food. For example, a 20-pound turkey needs four to five days to completely
thaw in the refrigerator.
optimum safety, cook stuffing in a casserole dish. Prepare
stuffing and place loosely inside the turkey immediately before placing in the
oven. Use about ¾ cups per pound of turkey. Mix wet and dry ingredients
for the stuffing separately and combine just before using. Any extra stuffing
should be baked in a greased casserole dish.
Another joyful part of the holidays are the leftovers. Properly
cover leftovers in airtight packaging or seal in storage containers to limit
bacterial growth, retain moisture and prevent the accumulation food odors in
the refrigerator. Rapidly cool food in
the refrigerator or freezer.
Refrigerated leftovers should be used within three to four days. Dispose
of perishable and cold leftovers left at room temperature for more than four hours.
A good rule to follow is, “when in doubt, throw it out.”
information and tips, call public health at 707-423-5470.