By: Morgan V. Robbins, RD, LD at LMC
Food safety is probably not the first thing you think of when planning your holiday feasts this season, but keep these guidelines in mind to make sure your holiday meals are safe and delicious.
-Make sure you are washing your hands as well as surfaces that food has direct contact with throughout the preparation process.
-Keep raw foods separate from ready to eat foods to avoid cross contamination.
-Raw beef, pork, veal, lamb, and roasts: Cook to a minimum temperature of 145ºF.
-Ground meats: Cook raw ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to a minimum temperature of 160ºF.
Cook to a minimum temperature of 165ºF.
-Avoid the danger zone: Bacteria grow rapidly between 40ºF and 140ºF, make sure foods are being refrigerated promptly or being thrown away if left out at room temperature for greater than two hours.
Store leftover food in airtight packaging or sealable containers; throw refrigerated foods away after 3-4 days and frozen foods after 3-4 months
The safest way to thaw foods is in the refrigerator, other acceptable methods include under cold water if the food is in a sealed, leak proof package or in the microwave. After food is thawed, it must be used within 3-4 days or refrozen.
When reheating foods, be sure they reach a minimum temperature of 165ºF.