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 project director for the Women Survivors Alliance and New Focus Daily magazine. Cindy is masters-level certified in health education 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 degree in health promotion and education from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Cindy has been involved in multiple cancer activities and projects since 2000, including serving as the state coalition coordinator for Tennessee for 13 years, and currently is involved with several cancer organizations. 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. She has been touched by cancer personally after seeing both family and friends alike suffer from the disease.

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 the Women Survivors Alliance and other non-profit and charity organizations. She is pleased to partner with New Focus Daily and WSA.
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