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