Healthy Guests: Happy Holidays!

Christmas TurkeyHolidays can create lasting memories. The Lincoln County Health Department is reminding everyone that following basic food safety tips can help lower the likelihood that forborne illness becomes part of your holiday memories.

“The holidays can add a level of stress to everyone’s busy schedules. It’s important we remind ourselves of the 4 simple steps to keep foodborne illness out of our celebrations this year,” said Meghan Williams, Environmental Health Specialist, Lincoln County Health Department. Here’s what you can do to prevent foodborne illness from taking the cheer out of your holidays:

Clean: Keep Everything Clean

  • Wash hands before and after handling food.
  • Wash hands and surfaces often. Germs can survive in many places around your kitchen including your hands, utensils, cutting board, knives, and countertops.

Separate: Don’t cross contaminate!

  • Keep foods that won’t be cooked separate from raw eggs, meat and poultry.
  • Consider using one cutting board only for foods that will be cooked (raw meat, poultry, seafood) and another cutting board for foods that will not be cooked (raw fruits and vegetables).

Cook: Color is not an indicator of doneness!

  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to safe internal temperatures.
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked foods including raw oysters, steak tartare, and rare or medium hamburgers.

Chill: Refrigerate foods quickly because harmful bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature.

  • Avoid letting hot foods or cold foods sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Keep cold foods cold (410F or below) by placing in dishes or bowls of ice OR use small serving trays and replace them often.
  • Keep hot foods hot (1350F or above) by using slow cookers, chafing dishes or warming trays OR use small serving containers and replace them often.
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