Be Food Safe During the Holidays

For Immediate Release

November 23, 2016; 2:55pm

DPHSS Release No. 2017-012

Be Food Safe During the Holidays

Reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses for your family and friends during the holiday season.  The Division of Environmental Health of the Department of Public Health and Social Services is offering the following safe food handling behaviors to follow this holiday season for cooking a delicious and safely prepared meal.


Remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food, before and after handling raw meat and poultry, after touching dirty kitchen equipment, utensils, dishes or work surfaces and when hands are visibly dirty.  Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of foodborne illness.  Wash all kitchen utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot water and soap.


Use one cutting board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood, and a separate one for fresh produce.  Keep fish and seafood, raw turkey, roasts, hams, and other meats and their juices separate from other side dishes when preparing meals.


Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature.  The safe minimum internal temperature for meats are as follows: turkey, stuffing, casseroles, and leftovers to 165 °F; beef, veal and lamb roasts to 145 °F; “fully cooked” ham to 140 °F; and fresh ham, pork, and egg dishes to 160 °F.  Use a food thermometer. 


Chill food promptly.  Keep the fridge at 41°F or below to prevent bacteria from growing.  Custard pies and other egg dishes should always be kept cool.  Put leftovers in the refrigerator within two (2) hours. Remember to never defrost food at room temperature.

Keep hot food hot and cold food cold

Keep hot food above 140°F; store and serve cold foods below 41°F.

Remember, Be Food Safe for your health and your family. Happy Holidays!

For more information, please call the Division of Environmental Health at 735-7221.

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