As we embark upon Thanksgiving week, food safety is a very timely topic. Most of us will be making visits to the grocery store this weekend or the early part of next week to start purchasing all of the ingredients needed for those tantalizing recipes we all look forward to sharing together 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.
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.
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
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!
Source: Food and Drug Administration, www.fda.gov