Food Safety Tips for a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Did you know that each year roughly 48 million Americans become sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, don’t let food poisoning ruin your holiday!

The county’s Environmental Health Services (EHS) has four simple food safety tips to ensure your Thanksgiving meal is free from pesky germs that can make you sick.

Clean:

Bacteria can live on your food, hands, utensils, and cutting boards and make you sick. It’s important you wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces often when preparing your Thanksgiving meal to prevent illness.


Also, wash ready to eat foods like fruits and vegetables. Avoid washing meat, poultry, seafood or eggs. The germs on these foods will be killed when they are cooked thoroughly and you will avoid spreading harmful germs across your kitchen.

Separate:

Separate your raw meats, poultry and seafood from ready-to-eat foods while preparing your meal. This will help prevent harmful bacteria from coming into contact with food you don’t need to cook.

This includes using separate cutting boards. Use separate cutting board for fruits and vegetables, raw meat, poultry, and seafood to prevent cross contamination.

Cook:

Make sure you cook your food thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to ensure your food is cooked to the proper temperature.

  • Cook whole or intact beef, pork, veal, and lamb to at least 145° F.
  • Cook ground beef, pork, veal, and lamb to at least 160° F.
  • Cook all poultry (including ground) to at least 165° F.
  • Cook fish and shellfish to at least 145° F.

Chill:

Harmful bacteria thrive in temperatures between 40 °F – 140 °F, so cooling and maintaining food at proper temperatures is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

  • Check to make sure your fridge is 40 °F below and your freezer is 32° F or below.
  • Thaw meat, poultry, and seafood in the refrigerator, not on your kitchen countertop, to avoid foods reaching above 40 °F.
  • Divide and place leftovers into shallow containers to allow them to rapidly cool within two hours.

This holiday season, remember: clean, separate, cook, and chill. For more information on food safety, visit the EHS website at www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs or follow us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

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