Holiday food tips for safe celebrations
November marks the beginning of a season of celebrating with food, festivities and family fun. But according to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick every year from food poisoning. Food-borne illness is serious, and it can even be deadly. The Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy Program, a partnership of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Kohl’s Cares, has compiled some simple safety reminders to ensure a safe and healthy holiday season for all.
Keep it cool. Properly defrost the holiday turkey by allocating 24 hours of defrosting time per 5 pounds of turkey. Defrost the turkey in the refrigerator – not the kitchen counter. Keep the refrigerator set below 40°F.
Keep it clean. Thoroughly wash cutting boards, utensils, and countertops in warm, soapy water before and after preparing food. Also, clean hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
Keep it separate. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods. Designate separate cutting boards for meats and for fruits and vegetables to avoid cross contamination.
Keep track of temp. Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry.
Keep out of reach. Keep common baking ingredients such as vanilla and almond extract out of reach. They contain high levels of alcohol and may be harmful to children if swallowed.
Keep it fresh. It’s very important to store your leftovers in shallow containers so they cool faster in the refrigerator. Leftovers are often part of the tradition, but they should be eaten within three to four days.
With questions about food safety or food poisoning, call the Wisconsin Poison Center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-222-1222.