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6 Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

3. Beware of cross contamination. Your raw turkey is probably harboring some serious bacteria. You have to be vigilant about wiping up any liquid that drips from it with bleach or vinegar. Use separate cutting boards for the turkey and vegetables. Don’t even think about using a knife for preparing two different dishes without washing it in hot soapy water first. Keep raw eggs, poultry, and other food ingredients far away from each other. If your turkey is defrosting in your refrigerator and drips on your lettuce, and then someone eats that lettuce, they can expect to spend at least the next 24 hours vomiting and having diarrhea. Defrost your turkey in a pan with deep walls, and protect the other ingredients in your fridge with plastic bags.

4. Buy a meat thermometer. Undercooked turkey is just plain mean. Your guests might not be able to tell the difference by taste between a turkey that was cooked to a minimum temperature of 165 degrees F and one that was not cooked to temperature, but they’ll know when their stomach cramps start. Even if your turkey has a pop up thermometer, you still need to check the temperature with a meat thermometer.

5. Don’t stuff your turkey. Stuffing is to bacteria as water is to fish — they breed in it. It’s likely that your stuffing won’t cook through, and the raw eggs in it will mix with uncooked turkey juices for an illness-inducing bacteria party. Have a heart and cook your stuffing in a separate casserole dish. Trust me, no one will complain.

6. Be careful of botulism. Botulism is best known as a paralytic illness you can get from canned foods, but frozen, pre-cooked foods also harbor it. Be as careful in the freezer section as you would be in the raw meat section.

With that said, have a merry and safe Christmas!

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Read more: Christmas, Diet & Nutrition, Food, Health, Health & Safety, Holidays, Home, Household Hints, Life, Non-Toxic Cleaning, ,

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11:38PM PDT on May 26, 2013

Thanks for the reminders. Great info!

8:31AM PST on Dec 7, 2011

Good reminders.

5:17AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

Thanks for sharing

7:50AM PST on Feb 8, 2011


6:49PM PST on Jan 26, 2011


9:47AM PST on Jan 13, 2011


6:04AM PST on Dec 31, 2010


7:01PM PST on Dec 29, 2010

"If you’re handling poultry, meat or raw eggs, just use paper towels"
Just like what I do these time. btw, nice tips

10:07PM PST on Dec 28, 2010

i guess that i picked up some type of cleaning ocd while working in the health care industry...i go through everything with antimicrobial disenfectant wipes, including my hands, and i switch cutting boards, knives and utensils for every type of food, yep, must be ocd.

10:09AM PST on Dec 28, 2010

Vinegar is always my go to cleaner. Bleach is just way too harsh. The smell of it hurts my chest. Yuck. Luckily I'm vegetarian, so I don't have to worry about any cross contamination. My mother-in-law cuts meat, veggies, fruit all on the same cutting board with the same knife. And she's a bleach fanatic (which could be why she has such a hard time breathing when she cleans...) My husband was feeling a bit ill after this Xmas meal. I bet all that cross contamination is to blame!

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