Keys to a successful food holiday season

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Shannon Wicks
  • 52nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron
The holidays are fast approaching, which means tis the season to share our kitchens with family and friends.

To prevent foodborne illness, remember these food safety tips for a successful and healthy holiday season.

When cooking our favorite meats, internal temperatures should be:
- Poultry: 165-175 F
- Beef: 160 F
- Lamb: 160 F
- Pork: 150 F

Always remember consuming under-cooked meat could result in a serious or fatal illness. Use a meat or food thermometer to guarantee foods are cooked to the proper temperatures. The temperature "danger zone" is between 41 F and 135 F; this temperature range is where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly.

Safe ways to thaw foods are in the refrigerator in its own container and separate from other foods; submerged in cold water; or in a microwave oven.

It is very important that common areas are cleaned thoroughly both prior to and following preparation in order to avoid cross contamination. Bacteria on raw meats and poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils or other contact surfaces.

Ensure others who are handling food are washing their hands prior to and after preparing meals, as well as anytime there is a break in food handling. No one should be in the food preparation area if they are showing signs of a cold, flu or any other type of communicable illness.

Lastly, remember to put leftovers away in the refrigerator if they have been sitting out at room temperature for more than 4 hours. Consume leftovers within seven days.

If you have any questions, please call your local public health office at DSN 452-8331 or commercial 06565-61-8331.