Holiday Food Safety

Holiday Food Safety from 101 Cooking For Two

Repost from July 4, 2011… it is all still true.

This bad boy is E.coli 0157:H7 sometimes
called the hamburger bug and you may get it or any of many other nice
buggies if you’re not careful out there this weekend. The above E.coli
can cause renal failure and even death. Not just a little stomach upset
but death. Yes, I’m trying to get your attention.

is up to you to keep your friends, family and children safe from these
things. It is not that hard but after every major holiday I see many
children with food poisoning. Fortunately most case are self-limiting
meaning they get well.  But it is all avoidable.

are a lot of safety tips that should obey this weekend but since this
is a cooking blog, I will concentrate on the food related ones. This is
not a comprehensive list but just some good reminders.

General Facts:
  • Unwashed hands and surfaces are a prime cause of foodborne illnesses. Hot soapy water is your friend.
  • Cross-contamination is the most common cause of  foodborne illnesses. Keep food prep away from serving areas.
  • Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40 and 140 °F.
  • Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables.
Meat handling:
  • Thaw meat in the refrigerator not the kitchen counter. About 5 hours per pound so plan ahead.
  • Marinate foods in the
    refrigerator, not on the counter. Do not use the marinade for anything
    else, it is contaminated. If you want to use it on the meat during
    cooking reserve some separately before
    adding the food.
  • Wash plates, utensils, and cutting boards that touched raw meat or poultry
    before using again.
Cooking temperatures: These are the minimum safe temperatures.

Burger and ground meats: 160
Chicken: 165
More safe temperature information at The USDA

Serving safely
  • Cold foods: If set out then no longer than 2 hours or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees.  Or you can keep them cooled to 40 degrees or less.
  • Hot food should be kept at or above 140°F.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftover foods promptly. If over the time limits then discard.

More food safety information at The FDA.

From “Hill Street Blues” Sergeant Phil Esterhaus:
Hey, let’s be careful out there.


July 1 2012



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