Do you have a holiday party in your future? Many of us will be hosting food events for family and friends throughout the holiday season. You don’t want to be the one to make anyone sick from your food event. Start with simple basics.
- Clean everything before you start. Use a solution of 1 Tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Use this to clean your sink, countertops and as a sanitizer for cutting boards and other cooking utensils.
- Next, plan your menu carefully. Choose some items that can be safely left out of refrigeration like pretzels, crackers, baked products and fruit. Make sure you have the equipment to keep other items hot (about 140 °F) or cold (under 40°F)
- When shopping, pick up the perishable items (those needing refrigeration) last at the grocery store. And, make sure this is the last stop on the way home.
- Theeasiest way to assure your food is safe is to make sure the perishable food does not stay out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours. A sit down meal that is served and then cleaned up is safer than a buffet style meal that stays out for hours.
- Keep a food thermometer handy so that you cook foods to the proper temperatures. Color is not enough when deciding if your meat, soup or casserole is done.
o Cook chicken to 165°F
o Cook whole meats such as beef and pork to 145°F
o Ground beef and pork should be cooked to 160°F
o Heat soups and casserole dishes to 165°F
o When holding hot dishes on a buffet table keep them at 140°F
- Finally, put leftovers away promptly, within 2 hours of serving. When reheating them for later service, heat to 165°F.
Following a few simple rules will keep you, your family, and your friends from getting a foodborne illness this holiday season.
Reference: USDA Blog, Cooking Meat? Check the New Recommended Temperatures, http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/05/25/cooking-meat-check-the-new-recommended-temperatures/
Author: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, email@example.com
Reviewed: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, firstname.lastname@example.org