Hy-Vee Tips on Food Safety During the Holidays

By Susannah LeVon, Hy-Vee Dietitian

A Recipe for Disaster – DO NOT DO THIS!

All you need:
Frozen turkey
Raw eggs
Milk
Twice baked potatoes
Pre-baked green bean casserole

All you do:
Put cold foods in your grocery cart and take 2 hours shopping for rest of groceries
Leave groceries in car while you do other shopping for party
Leave groceries sitting on counter while you talk to sister on phone
Put groceries in crowded refrigerator (at 42 F, if had a thermometer)
Finish thawing turkey in cool water for 3 hours
Put turkey back in refrigerator for 2 days
Feed family on Thanksgiving!

How to Avoid the Recipe for Disaster!
Food-borne illness is no fun anytime and should not be part of your Holiday FUN!
So take care to follow the 4 main guidelines when preparing food for the holidays (and anytime).

1. Clean
a. WASH HANDS often and for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday to yourself 2 times through).
b. Clean and sanitize your work surfaces often.
c. Clean and sanitize any cloth towels and sponges (To sanitize: use 1 tsp. chlorine bleach in 1 quart water solution)– or use paper towels.

2. Separate
a. Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods (in grocery cart, in refrigerator, and storage containers). You do not want raw meat juice dripping onto any other foods.
b. Use different cutting boards for raw foods, produce and ready-to-eat foods.
c. Do not use same sponge to wipe up counter after using it to wipe up raw meat or egg.

3. Cook
a. Cook foods to correct temperature. You can't tell by looking, so use a thermometer:
165 F. for turkey and other poultry
165 F. for casseroles and reheating leftovers
160 F. for ground meat (hamburger, ground turkey or pork)
160 F. for eggs and egg dishes
145 F. for beef, pork, veal, lamb (roasts, steaks and chops, with a 3-minute rest time after removal from heat source) and fin fish.
b. Thaw food in a microwave or in a sink of cold water. You must change the water every 30 minutes to keep thawing food out of the *danger zone.
c. If you use microwave to defrost a food, COOK immediately after thawing.
d. If you defrost food in a cool water bath, COOK immediately after thawing
e. Stir or rotate food cooked in a microwave to avoid bacterial growth in "warm" spots.
f. KEEP HOT FOODS HOT (at 140 F. or warmer) and don't leave food out more than 2 hours.
g. Reheat foods to greater than 165 F. Eat leftovers within 3 days.

4. Chill
a. Buy cold foods last at grocery store, just before checking out. Go home right away.
b. KEEP COLD FOODS COLD (less than 40 F.) Put cold foods in refrigerator immediately.
c. Serve cold foods (meat, cheese or dips) for a buffet in ice. If you buy a party tray, remove lid and fill with ice, then place tray of food on top.
d. Make sure your refrigerator's thermometer reads 40 F. or colder.
e. Chill leftover food within 2 hours of serving your feast.
f. Divide leftover food into SMALL containers so that food will cool down quickly in refrigerator.
g. Leftovers should be eaten or frozen within 3 – 4 days.


* Danger Zone is when foods are kept at temperatures between 40 F. and 140 F.
Microbes grow rapidly in that range of temperatures.


Enjoy your holidays! Keep your food safe, healthy and delicious!

References and Resources:
www.fightbac.org
www.iowafoodsafety.org
www.HolidayFoodSafety.org
www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsafety
www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/
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