“Young children, pregnant women and older adults are more at risk for developing serious illness from food poisoning,” said Kristi King, a registered dietitian with Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital.
King offers these important tips to keep in mind when shopping for and preparing holiday foods.
- When shopping, keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
- If you use reusable grocery totes, be sure to wash them regularly to get rid of any germs.
- Make sure everyone washes their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds prior to handling food.
- Be sure to have two cutting boards in the home – one for raw meat and another for vegetables, fruits and ready-to-eat foods.
- 165 degrees Fahrenheit is the magic number – use a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey or other meat to ensure it is fully cooked.
- If perishable food such as meat and eggs has been sitting out for more than two hours, throw it out.
- Store foods in a shallow, air-tight container so it cools rapidly to prevent bacteria growth.
- Reheat foods to 165 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the risk of food borne illness.
For food safety tips that can be used year-round, King suggests visiting the Home Food Safety website.