Food safety

Food poisoning from harmful bugs can show up if you do not handle foods carefully.  Symptoms can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and cramps, or a fever.

This is the time of the year when we are making holiday treats, doing more home cooking, and dealing with leftovers in our kitchen. Think safety to prevent coming down with a bug that could knock you out of holiday celebrations.

cookie dough – contaminated flour in unbaked homemade dough or batter

*do not taste unbaked dough or batter

*wash your hands after handling raw flour or eggs

cider – unpasteurized cider

*mull/heat up the cider to boiling and add spices

*avoid unpasteurized cider

eggnog – homemade eggnog may be contaminated with bacteria in raw eggs

*use pasteurized eggs

*buy pasteurized ready-made eggnog

Meats and poultry

Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart

Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential in preventing foodborne illness. You can’t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four guidelines to keep food safe:

  • Clean—Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate—Separate raw meat from other foods.
  • Cook—Cook to the right temperature.
  • Chill—Refrigerate food promptly.

Cook all food to these minimum internal temperatures as measured with a food thermometer before removing food from the heat source. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook food to higher temperatures.

Product Minimum Internal Temperature & Rest Time
Beef, Pork, Veal & Lamb
Steaks, chops, roasts
145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Ground meats 160 °F (71.1 °C)
Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked) 145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Fully Cooked Ham
(to reheat)
Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F (60 °C) and all others to 165 °F (73.9 °C).

 

Product Minimum Internal Temperature
All Poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, and wings, ground poultry, and stuffing) 165 °F (73.9 °C)
Eggs 160 °F (71.1 °C)
Fish & Shellfish 145 °F (62.8 °C)
Leftovers 165 °F (73.9 °C)
Casseroles 165 °F (73.9 °C)

 

 Vegetables and fruits

*buy fresh-cut produce only if refrigerated or surrounded by ice

*separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from fruit, vegetables, and other foods in your cart and in your fridge

*wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm soapy water before and  after preparing food

*wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking even if they need to be peeled

*scrub firm produce like cucumbers with a clean produce brush-air dry before cutting

*do not rinse bagged pre-washed salad greens-you are more likely to contaminate them with bugs from your sink

*discard the outer leaves of heads of leafy vegetable like cabbage and lettuce

Leftovers

Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly. Meat and all perishable foods should be left out for no more than 2 hours.

(Nutrition.com and USDA)

Cross-contamination is often the cause of food poisoning and raw foods and ready-to-eat foods such as salads are particularly at risk of contamination.  Bacteria can grow rapidly when foods such as meats, dairy products, and sauces are not kept at the right temperature.

If you have ever had a case of food poisoning you will appreciate how important it is to follow safe food handling practices!

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