With holiday meals around the corner, Dr. Ron Warner, from Texas Tech Physicians — Family Medicine, says following a few steps could keep you and your family from becoming ill this holiday.
The most important thing to do is to plan ahead. Many people try to take short cuts when thawing turkeys or other meat items. A big mistake is to leave a frozen turkey on a countertop to thaw, which may cause the turkey to thaw incompletely. This causes pockets inside the turkey that are warmer than others and the possibility for germs to multiply.
Some holiday cooking safety tips include
- Cooking Stuffing apart from the turkey
- Never thaw meats above raw vegetables in the refrigerator.
- Thoroughly clean the cutting board between working with different food types.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before you begin and once again when switching between foods.
- Make sure to boil gravy for 2-3 minutes to kill any bacteria or spores
Once a food item is cooked and put out to be served, it should never stay at room temperature more than four hours total. Try to get left overs refrigerated as promptly as possible.