Thanksgiving is right around the corner and if you’re traveling, make sure you read our holiday driving safety tips. If you’re cooking, be sure to continue reading. Now close your eyes and think of the abundance of food that you will come into contact with: juicy turkey meat, creamy green bean casserole, fluffy mashed potatoes, tart cranberry sauce, and sweet pumpkin pie. Wow, just envisioning it is making me hungry!
You will be handling a wide variety of ingredients so make sure your kitchen is safe and free of contamination or the days after Thanksgiving (including Black Friday) may not be so enjoyable. Here we provide food safety tips that are used by chefs at restaurants around the country.
Properly clean your hands and arms
Under running warm water, lather your hands and arms together with soap for at least 20 seconds. After, thoroughly dry them with clean paper towels. Make sure to wash your hands before you start preparing food, after human contact, after using the toilet, and when switching between working with raw food and working with ready-to-eat food.
Cook your food safely
Food that is potentially hazardous should be cooked at 63 degrees Celsius (145 degrees Fahrenheit) or above. This includes raw animal products like eggs, fish, meat, and poultry. Learn about safely thawing turkey so it comes out delicious and free from causing foodborne illnesses.
Cold potentially hazardous foods should be kept at 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) or less, or otherwise specified by law.
Maintain food temperatures
Food that needs to stay warm should be warm. Food that needs to stay cold should be cold. If the dishes diverge too much to the opposite temperature, your food will spoil. Try to keep food out for less than an hour and reheat or refrigerate to maintain safe temperatures.
Store leftovers correctly
Certain foods should be kept separate from each other to avoid cross-contamination and to allow for safer reheating. When storing, use uncontaminated packages, containers, or wrappings. Make sure before you use any storage product that they are cleaned of any visible soil.
If you would like to learn more about the proper ways of handling food, sign up for the American Safety Council’s Food Handler Card Online course, which satisfies Food Handler training requirements in the state of Texas.