Gathering around a table or buffet for a meal with friends and family is a delicious way to celebrate the holiday season.
As you include food in your festivities, Graham McKeen, director for public and environmental health at Indiana University, has tips on how to make sure your holiday meal doesn’t leave a negative impression by causing illness.
“Festive office parties and holiday traditions should not include sharing foodborne illness,” McKeen said.
“It’s important to handle food safely, cook foods thoroughly and store leftovers properly to stay safe as you celebrate.”
Safe cooking, baking and storage tips
- Wash hands and surfaces that will come into contact with food often to avoid spreading bacteria.
- Always serve food on clean dishes, not on those previously holding raw meat or poultry.
- Cook foods thoroughly to safe minimum internal temperatures. Turkey should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not consume raw cookie dough; bake dough and batter before eating it.
- Keep hot foods hot (at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or more) and cold foods cold (at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler).
- Do not leave food sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Store leftovers in shallow containers in the refrigerator or freezer and reheat them to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. If you experience serious symptoms like vomiting, fever or diarrhea after consuming food, contact a health professional.