Preventing Foodborne Illness During the Holidays

Preventing Foodborne Illness During the Holidays

Fall is upon us, and October is a perfect time to brush up on how to keep our friends and family safe during the holiday season! 

Proper preparation and storage are what we should strive for as we frequent the kitchen, but there are some additional components to be mindful of when it comes to food safety. 

  • Food poisoning symptoms 
    • Upset stomach, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever
  • Groups at a higher risk for foodborne illness
    • Adults over the age of 65, children younger than 5 years old, those with a weakened immune system, and pregnant individuals 
  • Foods that are more likely to be contaminated
    • Raw or undercooked meat and poultry, raw or lightly cooked eggs, unpasteurized (raw) milk, and raw shellfish  

As mentioned above, proper preparation and storage is the best way to mitigate the risk of foodborne illness and keep your dinner party running smoothly! Continue reading for the steps you should be taking in the kitchen.  

  1. Safe grocery shopping: When grocery shopping, keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and juices away from other foods. Additionally, store raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from other foods in the refrigerator to prevent cross contamination. 
  2. Cleaning before cooking: Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, clean the surfaces you’re cooking on often, and clean your utensils with hot water and soap. Be sure to wash your fruits and vegetables separately. Avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards for raw meat and seafood. 
  3. Cooking your food to the correct temperature: Ensure that you’re cooking your meats to the correct internal temperature to kill potential bacteria. To check the internal temperature of your food, use a food thermometer. Click here to learn the minimum internal temperatures for various types of food.
  4. Refrigerate food after preparation: Bacteria can form if left at room temperature for too long. The temperature danger zone is from 40°F to 140°F. Be sure to refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours of preparing meals or returning from the store.  

Let’s all work together this fall to prepare our food safely for our loved ones!

For more information about our nutrition services, click here, and to learn more about food safety, refer to CDC recommendations.