Food Safety Around The Holidays

The holiday season has arrived bringing with it everything from pumpkin spice lattes to roast turkeys. Since many households don’t prepare holiday fare year-round, they are cooking dishes they may not have regular experience with. Additionally, holiday potlucks and family visiting from different states all raise the risk of contracting food-borne illness. 

The CDC recommends a four-step approach to avoiding food poisoning:

  1. Clean
  2. Separate
  3. Cook
  4. Chill

Cleaning doesn’t just refer to your pots, pans, and cutting board. Also, remember to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before cooking with them. When preparing raw meat, make sure it is separated from other products you’re cooking with. Juices from raw meat, in particular, chicken, frequently contain salmonella until cooked to a safe temperature. Thoroughly cook everything during the holidays. Perhaps you go distracted by an in-law’s question or are using a new stove, however not reaching adequate temperatures for many dishes will result in them not being safe to eat although they may still look good. Lastly, the refrigerator should be your best friend when storing food. By avoiding the “danger zone” between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit where bacteria readily multiplies, you’re ensuring a safe, healthy meal for everybody around your table. 

Nobody enjoys getting sick around the holidays but it’s not an unusual occurrence. Instead of missing out on the festivities, please reach out to a UNI physician at any of our six convenient locations. Frequently the faster professional help is sought, the shorter the recovery time. Characteristic signs of food-borne illness are nausea, cramping, and vomiting. Regardless of whether it’s food poisoning or something else, UNI physicians are here to help you be your best this holiday season.