Press release from Henderson County Department of Public Health:
As we gather with friends and family over the holidays, the Henderson County Department of Public Health would like to remind everyone to follow some important food safety practices to avoid foodborne illnesses.
“Your holiday activities don’t have to be ruined by a foodborne illness,” said Garrett Rapp Environmental Health Program Specialist. “Preparing food safely should be something we do every day, not just during the holidays.”
Follow these simple tips to keep safe from food poisoning, or foodborne illness, during the holidays and throughout the year:
- Wash your hands. Wash them before preparing food, after touching raw meat and unwashed fruits and vegetables, before and after eating and, of course, after using the restroom.
- Cook food thoroughly. Use a meat thermometer and make sure you cook the food to the proper temperature. Follow final cook temperatures located on the meat package labels.
- Keep food out of the danger zone, which is 42-134°F. After cooking, store the food hot (135°F or above) or cold (41°F or below). Bacteria can grow rapidly. Do not keep leftovers that have been at room temperature for more than two hours. Cool food rapidly.
- Do not taste or eat dough or batter made with flour or eggs as it may contain harmful germs. Use pasteurized eggs for popular dishes that contain raw eggs, including eggnog, hollandaise sauce, tiramisu and Caesar dressing.
- Keep foods separated. Keep meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from all other foods at the grocery store when shopping and bagging food items and in the refrigerator.
- Safely thaw your turkey. Do not “wash” the turkey; it can lead to cross contamination up to six feet. Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator or under cold continuously running water.
The Department of Public Health wishes you a safe a healthy holiday season. For more information about food safety, visit hendersoncountync.org/health.