- CLEAN: Wash hands and surfaces often while preparing a holiday meal. Wash cutting boards, dishes, and utensils with detergent and water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next item.
- SEPARATE: Don’t cross-contaminate. Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in the refrigerator and during food preparation. Use one cutting board for raw meat and poultry and a separate one for vegetables and other food items. Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat and poultry unless the plate has been thoroughly cleaned.
- COOK: Cook to proper temperatures using a food thermometer. Cook roasts and steaks to at least 145 ºF, whole poultry to 165 ºF, and ground beef to 160 ºF. When reheating, leftovers should be thoroughly heated to 165 ºF; sauces, soup, and gravy should boil rapidly.
- CHILL: Refrigerate promptly; within 2 hours. Place leftovers into shallow containers for rapid cooling. The refrigerator should be maintained at 40 °F or below and the freezer at 0 °F or below. Keep a refrigerator/freezer thermometer to check temperatures.
During your party keep hot foods hot, 140 ºF or above, by using chafing dishes, slow cookers and warming trays. And keep cold foods cold, 40 ºF or below, by nesting the serving dishes in bowls of ice.
Protect your party guests from a foodborne illness by following these simple rules of food safety. Happy Holidays!
For additional food safety information about meat, poultry, or egg products, visit foodsafety.gov, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline’s toll-free number 1-800-535-4555, or contact your local extension office.
Author: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension goard.@osu.edu