Basic steps to food safety at home during the holidays

Every year, millions of people get sick from foodborne illnesses. For some, it can be like the stomach flu; for others, it can cause a serious health problem and even death. People that are at higher risk are pregnant women, older adults and those with certain health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and HIV/AIDS.

The Florence County Health Department would like to remind those cooking for the holidays to follow four basic steps to better ensure food is prepared safely at home —

— Clean: Always wash your food, hands, counters and cooking tools. Wash hands in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after touching food. Wash cutting boards, utensils and counters with hot, soapy water before and after each food item. Rinse fruits and veggies. Clean the lids of canned goods before opening.

— Separate: Keep raw foods separated from other foods, as germs can spread from one food item to another. Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs away from other foods, including in shopping carts, bags and the refrigerator. Do not reuse marinades used on raw foods unless first brought to a boil. Use only a separate cutting board or plate for raw meats.

— Cook: Foods need to get hot and stay hot. Heat kills germs. For maximum food safety, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends 165 degrees Fahrenheit for all poultry; 160 degrees for ground beef, lamb and pork; and 145 degrees, with a 3-minute resting period, for all other types of beef, lamb and pork.


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