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Safety Tips for Cooking Thanksgiving Meal

The McHenry County Department of Health provides the following tips to help prevent a food-borne illness.

Planning for holiday meals should include more than a delicious menu and invited guests.  

McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) wants you to practice safe food handling as well. 

Keeping “hot things hot (>135 degrees) and cold things cold” can reduce your risk of a food-borne illness.  Other safety tips include:

  • Thaw frozen meats in the refrigerator (allow 1 day for each 5 pounds of weight plus an extra day or two).  Don’t buy a fresh turkey too soon as fresh poultry should be kept in the refrigerator no more than two days before cooking.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before and after handling foods.
  • Clean all kitchen surfaces before you begin cooking.
  • Scrub cutting boards with hot soapy water after preparing food to avoid cross contamination.
  • Use a metal stemmed food thermometer to ensure food is cooked to the proper temperature.  Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria (165°F for turkey).
  • It is recommended that leftovers be refrigerated within 2 hours of serving time.

Food-borne illness is preventable. Visit www.foodsafety.gov for other tips.

If you suspect a food-borne illness, contact MCDH for investigation. Staff can be reached at 815-334-4585, Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm.  For after hour emergencies, call 815-344-7421. 

Source: McHenry County Department of Health

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