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Don't Let Food Poisoning Spoil the Holidays

Don't Let Food Poisoning Spoil the Holidays


By    |   Wednesday, 23 November 2016 10:02 AM

Holidays are great for entertaining guests and indulging, but here's a checklist to stop food poisoning from showing up.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 48 million people contract dreaded food poisoning each year, with about 128,000 of those headed for the hospital and 3,000 actually dying from illnesses associated with food poisoning.

  • Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in your grocery bags, in the refrigerator, and while prepping. Inadvertent splashing of juices can occur, contaminating other foods.
  • Wash your hands, kitchen surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards frequently, especially after handling or preparing uncooked food and before touching or eating other foods. Wash produce but not eggs, meat, or poultry, which can spread harmful bacteria, again, through splashing.
  • Use the microwave, cold water, or the refrigerator method to defrost your frozen meat or poultry. Do not thaw or marinate these items on the counter, and be sure to cook them immediately after thawing. Counter thawing allows air temperature bacteria to thrive.
  • The bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest in the ‘Danger Zone,’ which is between 40˚ and 140˚ Fahrenheit. In general, it’s best to keep hot food hot, and cold food cold.
  • Use a food thermometer to check if meat is fully cooked and heated high enough to kill harmful bacteria. Cook turkey until it reaches 165° F.
  • The safest way to cook stuffing is outside of the turkey in a casserole dish. However, if you choose to cook stuffing inside the turkey, stuff the turkey just before cooking, and use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Remove the stuffing immediately after the turkey is finished cooking and place in a separate serving dish.
  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly – within two hours – at 40° F or below to help reduce the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Prevent cross-contamination by completely and securely covering foods in the refrigerator.
  • Consume or freeze leftovers within 3-4 days.

Symptoms of food poisoning usually appear within hours of eating contaminated food, and often include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, and diarrhea. Food poisoning symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. While most food poisoning cases are mild and resolve without medical care, some episodes can be more severe and require expert treatment advice.

In a press release, Stephen T. Kaminski, CEO and executive director of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, said, “The good news is, food poisoning is largely preventable. By taking a few simple food safety precautions, you can avoid food poisoning during your Thanksgiving festivities. Pregnant women, young children, and those with vulnerable immune systems should be especially cautious during the holiday season."

AAPCC members staff a poison-help hotline at 1-800-222-1222, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Holidays are great for entertaining guests and indulging, but here's a checklist to stop food poisoning from showing up.
food poisoning, holidays, thanksgiving, hotline
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 10:02 AM
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