Nutrition-Bites-Food-Safety-for-the-Holidays

Nutrition Bites: Food Safety for the Holidays

The holidays are a joyful time with lots of giving and sharing. One thinks of the presents, time with friends and family, and sharing a delicious holiday meal together. Over the holidays, there is one thing that should not be shared: food poisoning. Food poisoning is caused by food-borne illnesses caused by bacteria. Symptoms of food-borne illnesses may include vomit, diarrhea, fever, sweating, cramps, nausea, and fatigue. The good news is there are lots of preventative measures that are simple and easy to follow and will ensure a happy healthy holiday!

Steps to follow during holiday grocery shopping:
-Keep raw meats, poultry, and seafood away from other food items in the grocery cart.
-Buy cold foods last
-Ask the cashier to place raw meats, poultry, and seafood in a separate bag

Steps to follow during food preparation:
-Safely defrost meat and poultry on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator prior to day of event.
-Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and ready to eat items to avoid cross contamination.
-Prepare uncooked recipes before recipes that contain raw meat
-Store ready to eat items or other prepared items out of the way when prepping meat dishes to ensure they do not become contaminated
-Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of dishes to confirm they are fully cooked and safe to eat. Beef, pork, veal, lamb and fish should be cooked to 145 degrees; Ground beef and egg dishes should be cooked to 160 degrees; and all poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees

Tips for cooking for groups:
-Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Bacteria likes to grow between the temperatures of 40 degrees and 140 degrees. Keep hot foods above 140 degrees by using crock pots or chafing dishes. Keep cold foods under 40 degrees by using ice trays.
-Discard perishable foods left out for 2 hours or more.

Following these tips will ensure the spreading of cheer, not disease, this holiday season!

By Devin Brittain, Tulane Dietetic Intern
December 2017

(Stock Photo: Pexels.com)

Topics:   nutrition , diet

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