Here Are a Few Quick Tips for Keeping Your Holiday Meals Safe at Home and When Traveling
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Here Are a Few Quick Tips for Keeping Your Holiday Meals Safe at Home and When Traveling

you can keep your family, friends and guests safe from food poisoning by making food safety a priority this holiday season

November 18, 2020

It's the most wonderful time of the year again! It doesn't really matter if you're staying at home for the holidays or traveling to visit friends and family. Food will always be a part of the holiday festivities. But you don't want this holiday season to be remembered for the wrong reasons, so make sure you know how to keep you food safe. Food poisoning can certainly put a damper on the holidays.

Holiday Food Safety checklist

Remember these four important steps for food safety: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.

  • Clean your hands for at least twenty seconds with warm soapy water. Always serve food on clean plates and absolutely never reusing plates that had previously held raw meats.
  • Separate and keep separated all raw and cooked foods to prevent cross contamination.
  • Cook food using a food thermometer to ensure it has reached a safe internal temperature. Do not rely on pop up timers that come with some foods, such as turkey.
  • Chill all leftovers within two hours of cooking to prevent spoilage. Keep track of how long food items have been sitting out and discard anything that has been out longer than two hours.

Safe Cooking Temperatures

During the holiday season, there are a wide variety of traditional dishes and family recipes that require specific preparations. When cooking these delicious meals, make sure to cook them to the correct internal temperatures to destroy bacteria that can make you seriously ill.

  • Cook all beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F before removing the meat from the heat source. For safety and quality reasons, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, you may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures
  • Cook all ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to an internal temperature of 160°F.
  • Cook all poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.

Traveling with Food

If you have prepared one of your famous dishes and are traveling with it, make sure to keep all hot foods hot (140°F or above) by carrying them in insulated containers. If you're transporting cold food, keep it cold (40°F or below) by carrying it with cold sources, such as ice or frozen gel packs, in an insulated container.

The best way to ensure that food is being held at a safe temperature while you are traveling is to pack and use an appliance thermometer.

The FoodKeeper App

For tech savvy holiday cooks, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service offers the FoodKeeper app, which gives you quick access to information about safe food storage and preparation, as well as food product recall announcements.

For more information about food safety, check out foodsafety.gov today.