The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends — to celebrate life, to be grateful and to reflect on what is important. They also are a time to appreciate and safeguard the gift of health.
Each year an estimated 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food.
(Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
Make food safety the main ingredient this holiday season in every dish served. Irving’s health inspectors offer these tips to help protect everyone’s health at any gathering:
- Always thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water before, during and after preparing food.
- Keep kitchen surfaces clean.
- Raw meat, poultry and seafood products should be kept refrigerated at or below 41°F before cooking, including when marinating.
- Use separate cutting boards for raw and cooked foods.
- Buy and use a food probe thermometer.
- Keep cooked foods at or above 135°F and cold foods at or below 41°F.
- Do not cover food when it is cooling because it traps the heat inside the food.
- Food left to cool slowly is a major cause of foodborne illness. Refrigerate food within two hours of serving. Cooked food should be cooled quickly.
- Cut large pieces of meat into smaller ones.
- For large pots of food such as beans, store them in small containers no more than 4 inches deep.
- Put hot food in the freezer to help it cool down rapidly. Remove it within an hour if freezing is not the desired storage method.
Food poisoning can ruin even the most festive celebrations. Learn more about food preparation safety by visiting FDA.gov/Consumers.