To Follow Good Food Safety Practices When Preparing Your Christmas Meals

On December 24, 2018

To Follow Good Food Safety Practices When Preparing Your Christmas Meals

No one wants to make anyone sick or get sick from eating a holiday feast. The Partnership for Food Safety has a Fight BAC promotion called “The story of your dinner” to educate the public on how important food safety is when preparing holidays meals.  More information and resources can be found at:  Extension Food Safety and Quality Educator Stacy Reed recommends the following to keep your family safe: When prepping your holiday feast follow these four key terms: CLEAN, COOK, CHILL and SEPARATE to keep food safety in mind and prevent the risk of foodborne illness.

When preparing food keep hands and surfaces clean. Wash your hands with warm soapy water before, during and after prepping food. Hands should be washed for a minimum of 20 seconds.  When prepping food wash your hands after touching raw and unwashed food items.  You should also wash your hands before eating and drinking. Other times you should pause and wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs are: after using the restroom, following coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose or caring for someone who is ill. Other times when should wash your hands are when treating a cut or wound, after handling electronics (e.g., cellphones or tablets), after touching pets or pet food, or following the disposal of waste such as garbage, animal or human waste (e.g., touching diapers) 

The next step is to heat food until it has reached its safe minimum internal temperature. Have a calibrated food thermometer readily available, as you’ll want to be able to accurately take the temperature of your food at the thickest spot a minimum of two times to ensure it has reached the necessary temperature safe for serving. If cooking a raw Christmas Ham, it needs to reach 145°F for 3 minutes, precooked hams need to be heated to 140°F. If you are cooking a turkey, be sure to follow the package’s instructions for proper cooking times and temperatures.  The minimum internal temperature for safely cooking poultry or turkey breast is 165°F. Also, for safety sake, stuffing should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.

Keep food out of the temperature danger zone by remembering to keep cold foods cold 40°F or below and hot foods 140°F or above after your feast is prepared. Microorganisms can grow and reproduce rapidly when food sits at room temperature within the temperature danger zone. Only take cold dishes out of the refrigerator prior to serving them. Refrigerate or freeze food within 2 hours after being prepared and served. Store leftovers from holiday meals in shallow containers less than 2 inches deep. Eat leftovers within 3-4 days, reheating them to 165°F before consuming. Gravy should only be kept for 2 days and needs to be boiled before eating.  

When making holiday favorites like eggnog and cookie dough for baking follow these tips. For Eggnog use pasteurized eggs since raw eggs may contain Salmonella. When you are making cookie dough remember not to eat raw dough due to the risk of E.coli from raw flour and Salmonella from the raw eggs.  

Lastly, separate raw and ready-to-eat (RTE) foods when preparing [use different cutting boards], storing [RTE foods should be stored above raw foods in the fridge], transporting [transport items in different bags] and holding foods to prevent cross-contamination.  

Use this information to safely prepare your holiday meal and have a safe and Happy Holiday Season!  

To Make Final Year End Purchases

If you have not already done so, it is important to evaluate whether making year end purchases of supplies or equipment will result in tax savings.  You still have a few days left in 2012 to make the expenditure. If you have taxable income this year and are on a cash accounting system then year end purchases are a good idea.  However it is not a good idea simply to buy things to reduce your taxable income if you really don’t need the items.  For example buying equipment that is nice to have but not necessary to run your business is not a good idea.  You would be better off keeping your money and paying the percentage that is due on that income. 

To Reflect On Our Lifestyle Decisions 

This time of the year it is especially important that we take time to count our blessings. For some this year has been a tough one with many challenges while for others it has been a good year. Some may have suffered setbacks in their health. In spite of this, we all can find something for which to be thankful. It is especially important for our children to see us model gratitude for the good things we have even in hard times. 

All of us can find some needy folks in our communities who have it tougher than us. Make it a family project to get involved in helping others. If you have food in a refrigerator, clothes in your closet, a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in, you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population. 

While farms are great places to raise a family, they are also very demanding and if we are not careful the workload can prevent us from developing the family life we desire. Take time to evaluate your life and make sure things are in a healthy balance. Make a special effort to slow down and make some Christmas memories with your family this year.

Quote Of The Week: “The Christmas spirit is a spirit of giving and forgiving.” James Cash Penney