Food Safety Tips for Healthy Holidays

Don’t give the gift of food poisoning this holiday season. Lincoln County Health Department is reminding residents that following basic food safety tips will help lower the likelihood that a foodborne illness becomes part of your holiday season. 
The four basic rules of food safety are as follows:
1.Clean: The first rule of safe food preparation in the home is to keep everything clean. 
•Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling any food.
•Wash food-contact surfaces (cutting boards, dishes, utensils, countertops) with hot, soapy water before and after preparing each food item. 
•Rinse fruits and vegetables under cool running water and use a brush to remove surface dirt. 
•Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking in order to avoid spreading bacteria to the area around the sink and countertops. 
2.Separate: Separate to avoid cross contamination and to prevent bacteria from spreading from one food to another. 
•Keep foods that won’t be cooked separate from raw eggs, meat, poultry. Take this precaution while shopping, when storing food in the refrigerator at home and while preparing meals. 
•Consider using one cutting board only for foods that will be cooked (raw meat, poultry, seafood) and another cutting board for foods that will not be cooked (raw fruits and vegetables). 
•Do not put cooked meat or other food that is ready to eat on an unwashed plate that has held any raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood or their juices. 
3.Cook: Food is safely cooked when it reached an internal temperature that kills all harmful bacteria.
•Color is not an indicator of doneness! Use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature. 
•To check a turkey for safety, insert a food thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey is safe when the temperature reaches 1650F. 
•If making eggnog or other recipes calling for raw eggs, use pasteurized shell eggs, liquid or frozen pasteurized products. 
•Don’t eat uncooked cookie dough which may contain raw eggs. 
4.Chill: Refrigerate food quickly because harmful bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature. 
•Refrigerate leftovers and any type of food that should be refrigerated within two hours. 
•Set your refrigerator at or below 400F and the freezer at 00F.
•Never defrost food at room temperature. Thaw foods 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 enough time to properly thaw food. For example, a 20 pound turkey needs for to five days to thaw completely in the refrigerator. 
•Leftovers should be used within three to four days, unless frozen. 
For proper temperature of cooked meat and for more holiday food safety tips visit: or find Lincoln County Health Department on Facebook. 
If you have additional questions about cooking a turkey, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).

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