The holidays are among us. For many of us that means family, friends and larger than life meals to help celebrate the occasion.  By preparing meals for such large groups of people food safety can sometimes become an after thought.


Here are some food safety tips to help you get through the holiday season.

Grocery Shopping:

While shopping for groceries takes planning it needs to be done safely to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

  • Hand sanitizer –> Use before and after sampling foods
  • Reusable shopping bags –> Easier to carry larger loads
  • Cooler bags –> Necessary if cold food will be out for more than an hour
  • Shopping Order –> Shop for non-perishable items like canned and boxed food first then move to the refrigerated and frozen section
  • Meats –> Have these wrapped in a plastic bag incase juices leak they wont cross contaminate the rest of your groceries

Now that you have all the groceries you need it is time to put the groceries away and start prepping.  Follows these tips to assure nobody goes home sick!

At home:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
  • Refrigerate all produce and meats within 2 hours of purchase.
  • All fresh meats should be placed on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to prevent cross contamination.
  • Defrost food, especially poultry and meats, in the refrigerator.  Allow 5 hours per five pounds to defrost.
  • Wash all fresh produce with cool tap water.
  • Use a different cutting board for produce and meats.

Congratulations, the food is put away properly prepared.  It’s okay, you can put your feet up and relax, now!  Take in all the relaxation that you can as once guests start coming it’s time to get back to work.  Once that day is here and the cooking begins be mindful of proper cooking temperatures.  Of course it is nice to sit around the table after a large meal is over or have appetizers out all day for people to much on but remember, you can’t tell whether the food (meat, eggs, seafood & dairy products) are safe just by looking at them.  Rather, follow these cooking temperatures while making sure all seafood, egg, meat and dairy dishes/products are safely stored in the refrigerator after two hours of being out.

Cooking Temperatures:

  • Hot Foods: 140 degrees or higher
  • Cold Foods: 40 degrees or below
  • Leftovers: 165 degrees or more
  • Ground meat: 160 degrees
  • Poultry: 165 degrees
  • Fresh beef, veal, lamb: 145 degrees
  • Pork/ham: 145 degrees
  • Eggs/egg dishes: 145 degrees

You are now ready to not only make please your guests with a wonderful meal but you can do it safely!