Kitchen Must-Knows: Holiday Food and Safe Eating

In the midst of this holiday season, food safety is something that deserves our attention.   Most of us will be making visits to the grocery store to start purchasing all of the ingredients needed for

In the midst of this holiday season, food safety is something that deserves our attention.   Most of us will be making visits to the grocery store to start purchasing all of the ingredients needed for those tantalizing recipes we all look forward to sharing together at the many festive gatherings and over the holiday dinner table.

What is the most important ingredient in preparing a holiday meal?  Food safety!

Below are some helpful food safety resources to keep your holidays happy courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration.

Holiday Food Safety Success Kit

Holiday Food Safety Video

Ready-to-Cook Foods

Additional Information


Holiday Food Safety Success Kit

The Holiday Food Safety Success Kit , developed by the non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education, provides tips on how to make sure holiday meals are safe as well as delicious. Recipes, shopping checklist, food safety tips, and children’s activities are included in the multi-media program.

Holiday Food Safety Video

This Holiday Food Safety Video shows how to store, prepare, and serve food safely to prevent food-borne illness from ruining the holidays. Follow these easy steps:

CLEAN: Wash hands and surfaces often
SEPARATE: Separate raw meats from other foods
COOK: Cook to the right temperature
CHILL: Refrigerate food promptly

Holiday Food Safety Video (English)

(en español)

Ready-to-Cook Foods: Follow Directions to Keep Your Holidays Happy

Eating them right out of the package, without cooking, could make you sick

Cookies are a holiday favorite – and this season is a good time to remind ourselves that ready-to-cook foods of all kinds, including raw, packaged cookie dough, do need to be cooked. Eating these kinds of foods right out of the package, without cooking them, could make you sick from bacteria. Cooking them according to the package directions before you eat them kills bacteria that could make you sick.

Whether it’s packaged cookie dough or a frozen entrée or pizza or any of the other ready-to-cook foods we use for convenience, cook or bake them according to the directions on the package, to help keep your holidays happy.

Most people who get sick from bacteria in ready-to-cook foods that aren’t cooked properly will get better by themselves, although food-borne illness isn’t a very pleasant way to spend the holidays. But anyone, of any age or health condition, could get very sick or die from these bacteria. This is especially true for people with weak immune systems; for example, the very young, the elderly, and people with diseases that weaken the immune system or who are on medicines that suppress the immune system (for example, some medicines used for rheumatoid arthritis).

Pregnant women also need to be especially careful to follow cooking directions on packages, since some bacteria are very harmful or deadly to unborn babies.

It’s a good safety tip to keep in mind all year, not just in the holiday season: Follow the directions on your ready-to-cook food packages to help keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.

Have a wonderful, happy, and food-safe holiday season!

 For additional information, check out these resources:
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Cindy Chafin
Cindy Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES® serves as editor-in-chief of Unconditionally Her. Through her many years as a masters-level certified health educator and 18-year employment in a higher education setting – as well as several years as a graduate and doctoral student – she has written countless articles, essays, publications, grant applications, proposals, reports, and other technical and creative writing documents. In addition to her training and professional work experience, she spent four years as volunteer editor of New Focus Daily, a publication of the Women Survivors Alliance, a national women cancer survivors-focused organization based in Nashville, Tennessee.
While serving as editor of Unconditionally Her, a women-focused magazine which provides content on anything from recipes, travel, books, and everything in between, she has a special interest in fitness, health, and well-being. She is certified by the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) and was part of the first cohort to receive master's level designation. NCHEC certifies health education specialists, promotes professional development, and strengthens professional preparation and practice. She is proud to be a CHES® and has been a public health professional for many years after receiving her graduate degree in health promotion and education from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She was a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for many years and looks forward to re-engaging with women one-on-one as a health coach pending completion of her certification and doctoral degree to supplement her public health and academic work.

She currently is the Associate Director for Community Programs for the Center for Health and Human Services at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, located just outside of Nashville, where she has been a project director of multiple grants since 2002 and served as interim director from 2015-2018. Cindy offers her consulting services and volunteer hours under the umbrella of Community Health Collaboratives, LLC which she founded in 2002 for organizations such as Unconditionally Her and other non-profit and charity organizations. She is pleased to promote empowerment and confidence of women readers across the globe, and to provide inspiration, motivation, and voice for social change through her role as editor-in-chief of Unconditionally Her.
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