With all of the holiday bustle, it’s easy to forget how important it is to prepare food safely, says Lorain County health commissioner David Covell.
“Getting sick from food is not a joyous experience at this time of year, so remember to practice food safety,” he said.
Here are some easy-to-remember tips from the Lorain County General Health District:
• Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. Wash food contact surfaces such as cutting boards, dishes, and utensils after preparing each food item. Don’t rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking to avoid splashing bacteria.
• Keep utensils and cutting boards used for cooked foods and raw foods separate. Don’t put ready-to-eat food on an unwashed plate that’s held raw eggs, meat, seafood, or their juices.
• Cook foods, especially meat, to the right temperature. Use a food thermometer, since a food’s color doesn’t reliably tell you if it’s been thoroughly cooked.
• Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Chill foods soon after serving and when traveling to a holiday party.
• Never thaw perishable foods on the counter. Bacteria grow quickly at room temperature, so thaw food in the fridge.
• Cook eggs thoroughly since even grade A eggs with clean, uncracked shells can contain harmful bacteria.
• Always refrigerate pumpkin pie, custard pies, and cheesecakes. Don’t leave them unrefrigerated for more than two hours.