Holiday Safety Tips (December, 2023)
December is a festive month that brings family and friends together to celebrate the holidays. We are all eager to see those that we love by sharing a handshake or a warm hug. In celebration, we gather to cook and feast as part of our traditions.
Coincidentally, illnesses such as colds and the flu tend to flourish during this time as well. And who wants to miss out on spending time with others or tasting those delectable treats that beg for a bite?
During this very busy time of year, it is important to clean your hands frequently. Just follow these steps:
- Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together. Be sure to get the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. This is about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
- Rinse hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. Sharing cloth towels can spread germs. If possible, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door.
Feasting with family is another part of many holiday celebrations. Follow these tips to help prevent food poisoning, or foodborne illness, during the holidays.
- Clean – Wash your hands and surfaces often. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm or cold water before, during, and after preparing food and before eating. Always wash hands after handling uncooked meat, chicken and other poultry, seafood, flour, or eggs.
- Separate – Don’t cross-contaminate. Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat food unless you keep them separate. Keep raw or marinating meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in the refrigerator.
- Cook – Food is safely cooked when the internal temperature gets high enough to kill germs that can make you sick. The only way to tell if food is safely cooked is to use a food thermometer. You can’t tell if food is safely cooked by checking its color and texture (except for seafood).
- Chill – Refrigerate promptly. Bacteria can multiply rapidly if left at room temperature or in the “Danger Zone” between 40°F and 140°F. Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and your freezer at 0°F or below, and know when to throw food out before it spoils. Refrigerate perishable food (meat, seafood, dairy, cut fruit, some vegetables, and cooked leftovers) within 2 hours. If the food is exposed to temperatures above 90°F, like a hot car or picnic, refrigerate it within 1 hour.
Protect yourself and your loved ones by considering these recommendations. Have safe and happy holidays!