Safe Food Handling Tips

The holiday season brings family, friends and, of course, food. Your holiday spirit could change from merriment to misery if you or other become ill from your Thanksgiving dinner. Keep your iconic Thanksgiving menu safe by following these safety tips for handling food.

  • Clean Hands & Clean Food: This tip is self-explanatory – wash your hand before and after handling all foods. Not only will you keep yourself clean from food-borne bacteria, but you’ll keep the food being handled throughout the cooking process from getting dirty.
  • Cutting Edge Clean: As well as your hands, make sure to clean all cutting boards and knives with hot soapy water before and after food preparation.
  • Raw Deal: Never thaw raw meat at room temperature as warm could become unsafe and cause bacterial growth. Thaw meat in the refrigerator or, when in a hurry, the microwave.
  • Thaw Law: When cooking frozen items, always thaw in the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to ensure no running juices contaminate other foods.
  • Temperature Rising: Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the interior of all meat reaches a safe temperature. Each type of meat has its own temperature where it becomes safe to eat:
      • Beef (Ground) – 160°F
      • Chicken or Turkey (Ground) – 165°F
      • Beef, Veal & Lamb – 160-170°F
      • Pork – 160°F
      • Chicken and Turkey Breasts – 170°F
      • Chicken or Turkey (legs, thighs & wings) – 180°F
  • No Thermometer? Use your eyes as your thermometer with these tips for food that is done cooking:
      • Steaming food
      • Clear juices run from meat
      • Pork, veal and poultry are white inside – not pink or red
      • Shellfish is opaque and fish flakes easily with a fork
      • Egg yolks are firm and not runny – egg whites are opaque
  • Towel Turnover: To prevent spreading bacteria, make sure to replace and wash dishtowels and sponges often. When drying hands after handling raw food, use disposable paper towels.
  • Two-Hour Rule: Before taking the well deserved and anticipated Thanksgiving afternoon nap, don’t forget to refrigerate or freeze all perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours.

You are all set! Put on your apron and follow these safety rules to create a wonderful and delicious family Thanksgiving meal. If sickness strikes on Thanksgiving, Pediatric Urgent Care of Northern Colorado is available. Save time and money with urgent care instead of emergency room visits.