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Health department offers tips for holiday food safety

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Dec 15, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Family dinners, potlucks with friends and delicious desserts are hallmarks of the holidays.

Don’t let harmful bacteria make it on the menu this year. Follow these simple food safety tips from Huron County Public Health to help spread holiday cheer — not food-borne illness — during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

Here are tips for food safety:

Wash your hands. Washing your hands with soap and water can help prevent spreading germs. Wash your hands: 

o Before, during, and after preparing food;

o After touching raw meat, raw eggs or unwashed vegetables;

o Before eating or drinking;

o Before and after caring for someone who is sick;

o Before and after treating a cut or wound;

o After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;

o After using the toilet;

o After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet;

o After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste; and

o After touching garbage.

Cook food thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to make sure food has been cooked to its minimum internal temperature: Ground beef: (160 degrees F); steaks, roasts and chops (145 degrees); poultry (165 degrees); pork and ham (145 degrees).

Keep food from growing harmful bacteria by keeping hot food hot and cold food cold. Food that has sat at room temperature for too long may start to grow harmful bacteria. Refrigerate or freeze food within two hours.

Keep food separate. Keep meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from all other foods. Use separate cutting boards and utensils when preparing food.

Use pasteurized eggs for dishes that require the use of raw eggs, such as eggnog, tiramisu, hollandaise sauce and Caesar dressing.

Don’t eat dough or batter. Dough and batter made with flour and eggs can contain harmful germs like E. coli and Salmonella.


Special tips for pregnant women

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women are at increased risk of food poisoning and 10 times more likely to get listeriosis, a rare but deadly food-borne infection caused by the bacteria listeria. Pregnant women should:

• Avoid raw or unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses;

• Avoid raw or unpasteurized juice and cider;

• Avoid smoked seafood, unless it is in a cooked dish, such as a casserole; and

• Avoid holiday punches, eggnogs, and other drinks that may contain alcohol.

Whether you’re preparing food for an event or hosting this holiday, follow the aforementioned food-safety tips to keep the season free from food-borne illnesses. For more information visit www.huroncohealth.com.

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