Holiday Food Safety Awareness
Albuquerque, NM — As Albuquerque families prepare for Thanksgiving dinner and all of the upcoming holiday meals to follow, the Environmental Health Department encourages keeping food safety in mind to ensure happy, healthy celebrations.
Careful planning when shopping and preparing for seasonal dinners can reduce the potential for bacterial contamination and food-borne illness. Illness from such pathogens such as Salmonella, Shigella and norovirus are associated with improperly handled foods.
"With all the hustle and bustle of family celebration and elaborate meals, it's easy to forget about food safety," said Lorie Stoller, Consumer Health Protection Division Manager. "Keeping simple tips handy can mean all the difference for busy cooks."
Food Handling Safety Tips
The City of Albuquerque Consumer Health Protection Division includes the team of health inspectors that will be vigilantly monitoring food handling and safety at supermarkets this holiday season. In addition, health inspectors offer the following tips for shoppers once they purchase their items:
- Clean – to prevent bacteria from spreading throughout the kitchen
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling foods
- Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water
- Use paper towels to clean up instead of cloth towels.
- Separate – don’t cross-contaminate
- Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other items in your shopping cart, grocery bags, and inside your refrigerator
- Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
- Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs
- Cook – proper cooking temperatures will stop bacteria
- Use a food thermometer to measure the internal portions of food
- Cook poultry to at least 165 degrees. Check the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
- Bring sauces, soups, and gravy to a boil when reheating.
- Heat leftovers thoroughly to 165 degrees
- Chill - to reduce the risk of illness
- Refrigerate or freeze your food items as soon as you get home from the grocery store
- Never leave food out at room temperature more than 2 hours
- Defrost food inside the refrigerator.
- Always marinate food inside the refrigerator
- Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.