USDA Offers Holiday Food Safety Advice In Case You Don’t Want To Kill Your Family

dinnerYou might be preparing a larger meal this week than you’re used to, or preparing trays of party food, and that means that you run the risk of giving everyone you love a food-borne illness. You can avoid turning your family celebration or classy party into a barfing festival by following a few helpful tips.

These come courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While they aren’t comprehensive, there are a few things that you may not have thought of.

It starts even at the grocery store while you load your cart: in order to avoid cross-contamination, keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood in an area of your cart away from other food. That’s because if the liquid from, say, your chicken makes contact with tomatoes that you plan to serve raw and in a salad, that’s how cross-contamination happens. They also suggest buying cold foods at the end of your shopping trip, which is a good idea and why most stores are laid out precisely that way.

Back at your house, how can you best inhibit the growth of disgusting and harmful bacteria? Don’t leave any perishable food out for 2 hours or more without some way to heat or cool them, like ice, a crock pot, or chafing dishes.

Employ a meat thermometer to avoid over- or under-cooking your roast beast, but make sure to not re-use cutting boards that have made contact with raw meat for any other purpose.

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