Whether you are entertaining or cooking for one, having food safety strategies in place can help you avoid foodborne illnesses and kitchen injuries.
Few things can ruin a celebration quite like food poisoning. Use these tips while preparing food to stay healthy during the holidays:
- Keep your hands clean. Clean hands play an important role in preventing the spread of bacteria while preparing food. Wash hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before, during and after meal prep.
- Use a cooking thermometer. Certain foods can be contaminated with germs that cause illness and must be cooked thoroughly to destroy any bacteria. As a general rule, beef must reach a minimum temperature of 145 F and poultry should reach 165 F to be considered safe to eat.
- Don’t eat the dough. You may be tempted to eat a spoonful of cookie dough before it goes in the oven, but this can be harmful. Cookie dough contains raw eggs that could carry germs such as salmonella—one of the top five germs that causes foodborne illness in the United States. Always bake cookies thoroughly to avoid the risk of contamination.
- Remember the two-hour rule. Perishable food shouldn’t be left on the countertop longer than two hours or it becomes vulnerable to bacteria growth. Place leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate as soon as possible.
Steer Clear of Common Kitchen Hazards
Food safety isn’t the only thing you should worry about as you’re spending more time in the kitchen during the holiday season. Be on the lookout for these potential problems.
Burns. Avoid burns by using potholders, keeping pot handles turned away from burners and wearing protective footwear and clothing without dangling sleeves or other extra fabric while cooking.
Falls. Prevent kitchen falls by keeping floors clear of grease and liquid spills, clearing clutter from work areas and using nonslip floor mats.
Kitchen fires. Keeping counters clear of flammable items, staying alert while cooking and keeping an eye on cooking food can help prevent kitchen fires.
Knife injuries. To reduce your risk of being cut, only use knives on stable surfaces, always carry knives with blades pointed downward and store knives properly when not in use.
Burns, falls and cuts can be serious if not treated immediately. If you suffer from a kitchen injury, don’t hesitate to seek urgent or emergency care.