Cathleen Liberty, Webster Health Agent
With the holidays right around the corner, it is important to prevent foodborne illnesses from happening in your kitchen while preparing a tasty turkey or a heavenly ham. With a few food safety tips, you should be able to have a food-safe holiday.
Tips on food safety
The most important tip when handling raw meat such as turkey or ham is proper handwashing and sanitizing equipment. Proper handwashing and sanitizing cutting boards, knives, and countertops is the only way to stop the spread of bacteria that can cause contamination. Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, which is the most effective way to properly sanitize your hands before and after handling food.
A refrigerator thermometer comes in handy when storing your raw meat in the refrigerator. Store the thermometer in the coldest part of the refrigerator and make sure the thermometer reads 41 °F or below to ensure your food is stored at proper temperature.
A meat thermometer is beneficial to making sure meat is cooked at an appropriate internal temperature depending on the type of meat it is. Temperatures vary for different meats. The thickest part of the meat is the best place to take the temperature, there is no way to tell food is cooked to a certain temperature by looking at it.
Remember, there is a four-hour danger zone that the cooked meat can be held below 140 °F before bacteria begins to infect the meat. Reheating or microwaving does not kill all bacteria from cooked meats, so don’t take a chance, after cutting the meat, store the remainder of the cooked meat in the refrigerator. Divide the leftovers in small shallow containers so that it will cool faster.
Leftovers should not be kept in the refrigerator longer than 3-5 days. When reheating leftovers, make sure there are no cold spots in food where bacteria can survive. Make sure to stir and rotate food being microwaved for even cooking.
Remember, a few tips can prevent foodborne illnesses and can make your holiday meals safe for you and your guests. You can also view Health and Safety Videos on the www.webster-ma.gov, health department web site for more home safety tips.
- Saturday, 10 November 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Webster Board of Health