Holidays are the time of year when families and friends gather around the table for dining and celebration.
MSDH reminds you that if the food you serve is not prepared and handled properly, you and your guests run the risk of food-borne illness.
Mississippi health officials offer the following advice for a safe and healthy holiday:
- Temperature: Remember to cook the turkey to the proper internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Cook roast, pork, and fish to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, ground beef to at least 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Sauces, soups, and gravy must come to a boil when reheating.
- Cross-contamination: Do not cross-contaminate and be sure to cool foods properly. Never place cooked food on a plate which previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood.
- Dressings: Always cook the dressing separately from the turkey. After cooking both the dressing and the turkey, the dressing can be placed in the turkey.
- Handwashing: Always wash your hands before and after handling food. Especially wash your hands with hot soapy water before handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets.
- Surfaces: Wash surfaces often. Those preparing the meal should wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item.
- Refrigeration: Do not overload your refrigerator. Methods for refrigerating food promptly: refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods and leftovers within two hours or sooner; never defrost food at room temperature; thaw food in the refrigerator, under cold running water or in the microwave; divide large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator; and do not pack the refrigerator so that cool air can circulate to keep food safe.