FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 21, 2013
Delegated Programs Unit Manager
Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability
DENVER-- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment today reminds Coloradans to keep their families safe from foodborne illness this holiday season by using proper food handling and preparation tips.
“The holidays are a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family, and food is typically a major part of the celebration,” said Therese Pilonetti of the department’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability. “However, foodborne illness is the one unwelcome guest to avoid during the holidays.” To prevent foodborne illness, Pilonetti suggests:
Keep everything clean
Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling any food. Kids can sing “Happy Birthday” twice to gauge how long they should wash their hands.
Wash food contact surfaces such as cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next item.
Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly under cool running water and scrub sturdy produce with a clean produce brush.
Don’t rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking. Washing these foods can spread bacteria to the sink and countertops.
Consider using one cutting board for foods that will be cooked (raw meat, poultry and seafood) and another for those that will not (raw fruits and vegetables).
Keep fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood. Keep fruits and vegetables separate from kitchen utensils and surfaces used for raw meat until those utensils and surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned.
Do not put cooked meat or other food that is ready to eat on an unwashed plate or surface that has held any raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood or their juices.
Cook food to the appropriate internal temperature
Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. When making your own eggnog or other recipe calling for raw eggs, use pasteurized shell eggs, liquid or frozen pasteurized egg products, or powdered egg whites.
Refrigerate foods quickly
Never defrost food at room temperature. Food can be defrosted safely in the refrigerator, under cold running water or in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
Allow the correct amount of time to properly thaw food. A 20-pound turkey needs four to five days to thaw completely in the refrigerator.
Don't taste food that looks or smells questionable. A good rule to follow is, “When in doubt, throw it out."
Leftovers should be used within three to four days.
Handle and prepare food for others only if you are healthy