Tags: DigIn, DigIn21, Magazine, DigInMagazine, NovDec, health tips, safety tips, holiday tips

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season

Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team

The chaos of holiday kitchens only begets opportunities for bacteria to contaminate the food you’re preparing. Taking steps to follow food safety precautions can mean the difference between a festive holiday season and being sick for days.

Follow these tips from the Partnership for Food Safety Education and visit https://www.fightbac.org/safe-holiday-meal-tips-and-planning/ to learn more:



Wash hands properly—scrubbing with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.

Wash countertops before, during and after food preparation with a clean cloth.

Use clean knives, cutting boards, pans, plates and food storage containers.

Rinse fruits and vegetables—regardless of their peel and rind—under running water before preparing.



Never rinse meat before preparing it. Bacteria from the raw meat can splatter over your sink, faucet, countertops and on you! Cooking meat properly will kill harmful bacteria.

Handle raw meat, poultry, seafood and unpasteurized raw eggs on their own surfaces, cutting boards and utensils.

Put raw meat in a plastic bag when selecting and place at the bottom of shopping cart. When home, store on a large plate on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to prevent the spreading of any leaks.



Verify food is properly cooked with an instant-read food thermometer — NOT by how it looks, feels or tastes. Follow current recommended internal cooking temperatures:


Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures

• Beef, Pork, Veal and Lamb: 160°F
• Turkey and Chicken: 165°F

Fresh Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb

• 145°F with a 3-minute resting period


• Chicken, Turkey, Duck, Goose and Stuffing (alone or in the bird): 165°F


• USDA Inspected: Smoked, Cooked: 140°F
 Non-USDA Inspected: Smoked, Cooked: 165°F
 Smoked, Cook-Before-Eating: 145°F with a 3-minute resting period

Egg Dishes

• 160°


• Fin Fish: 145°F
 Shrimp Lobster, Crabs - Flesh pearly and opaque
 Scallops - Milky white, opaque and firm
 Clams, Oysters and Mussels - Shells open during cooking

Hold Hot Foods

• 140°F or higher while serving with heated chafing dishes or slow cookers.



Hold cold foods below 40°F or cooler while serving in ice baths or in frozen, insulated containers. Do not keep food out longer than 2 hours.

Store food promptly in small, shallow food containers in a refrigerator at 40°F or below. Eat or freeze leftovers within 3 to 4 days.

Published 11/3/2021