New York, NY–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–November 21, 2002–The holidays are an especially hectic time in the kitchen, which means that cross-contamination – one of the leading causes of food borne illnesses – is more likely. So be extra careful when preparing, cooking and serving your holiday meals. Follow these simple tips from the Georgia-Pacific Health Smart Institute and help protect your family during the holiday season and throughout the year.
When shopping during the holidays, make sure food items are the last to be purchased. If it takes longer than an hour to get perishable items home, use an ice-filled cooler to keep them cold in the duration.
Allow enough time to defrost your turkey in the refrigerator. Make sure raw meat juices do not drip on other foods or refrigerator surfaces. Place food to be defrosted on plates lined with paper towels to absorb juices.
Before and after handling raw meats, poultry and seafood, scrub hands with liquid soap and rinse under warm running water for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hands completely using clean paper towels to help wipe off and throw away germs.
Do not cook stuffing inside the turkey where temperatures may not reach adequate levels to ensure thorough cooking. Instead, prepare stuffing in a separate pan to avoid possible cross-contamination from raw or under-cooked turkey.
To ensure thorough cooking of meat and poultry, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part (for turkeys that is between the thigh and the breast), and be sure it reads at least 180° F. Thoroughly clean the thermometer between each use.
To help avoid cross-contamination, clean all commonly touched surfaces such as counters, refrigerator door handles and light switches with disinfectant and Sparkleâ paper towels.
Use paper napkins instead of cloth napkins, which may actually harbor germs even after laundering.
If you are serving buffet style be sure the temperature of hot food is kept above 140° F. Cold foods should be kept refrigerated until being served or stored on ice.
Wash dishes and thoroughly dry them with paper towels within two hours of eating to help prevent germs from multiplying.
Refrigerate or freeze leftovers and perishables within two hours of preparation. It is best to use small, shallow containers for rapid cooling.
For more information about maintaining a healthy home environment, please call 1-877-GPCLEAN or log on to http://www.gphealthsmart.com.
Edelman Diversity Solutions
Barbie Casasus 212-704-8163