Proper food handling and preparation can prevent illness for your family and guests.
Mississippi health officials offer the following advice for a safe and healthy holiday:
- Temperature: Remember to cook the turkey to the proper internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (F).
Cook roast, pork, and fish to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, ground beef to at least 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Sauces, soups, and gravy must come to a boil when reheating.
- Cross-contamination: Do not cross-contaminate and be sure to cool foods properly. Never place cooked food on a plate which previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood.
- Dressings: Always cook the dressing separately from the turkey. After cooking both the dressing and the turkey, the dressing can be placed in the turkey.
- Handwashing: Always wash your hands before and after handling food. Especially wash your hands with hot soapy water before handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets.
- Surfaces: Wash surfaces often. Those preparing the meal should wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item.
- Refrigeration: Don't overload your refrigerator! Make sure that cold air can flow freely around foods. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods and leftovers within two hours or sooner. Divide large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.
- Thawing: Never defrost food at room temperature. Thaw food in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave.