Thanksgiving is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year, particularly for foodies, and, with so many large meals being prepared at homes across the country, everyone involved in preparing the feast should keep in mind potential risks involved.
Fortunately, for chefs and bakers, there are guidelines to follow to ensure holiday meals are prepared to make sure foodborne bacteria doesn’t show up for dinner, according to Bridget Pilgrim, garrison safety manager.
Food safety is a priority from the purchase to the preparation, cooking and serving of the turkey and other traditional dishes. Food-borne illnesses are caused when we consume food contaminated with certain bacteria or parasites. The risk of food poisoning, though, can be reduced through proper food cleaning, separating, cooking and chilling.
Don’t invite germs
• Use soap and warm water to wash hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, using the bathroom, touching pets, hair, skin, doorknobs.
• Wash cutting boards, counters and utensils often and consider using separate cutting boards … one for washed produce and one for raw meat and seafood.
• Wash fresh vegetables and fruits in drinkable running water and always separate raw foods from cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.
Start with a clean kitchen
• Start holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven, and always cook foods to at least the internal temperature that kills harmful bacteria, which is usually indicated on the packaging. For example, whole poultry should be cooked at 185° F, minimum, and then make sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.