Keep Foodborne Illness Out of Your Holiday Memories

by | Nov 1, 2015 | Aggie Life, Fall 2015, Food

The holidays usually mean bringing families and friends together for fun, fellowship and good food. Unfortunately, they are also the perfect environment for foodborne illnesses. Whether you are talking about the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, or some other main dish — a ham, a game hen, prime rib — extra caution must be taken to keep food safe.

Avoid the risks

A UC Davis study last year, which examined preparation of raw poultry, found that the most common risks in kitchens stemmed from cross-contamination and insufficient cooking.

Most opportunities for exposure can be avoided by practicing thorough hand-washing, never rinsing raw meat in the sink and using calibrated thermometers to determine that meat is fully cooked, said Christine Bruhn, author of the study and a UC Cooperative Extension specialist emerita.

“The first thing you have to start with is washing your hands,” Bruhn said. “Wash your hands before you touch anything else.”

Your poultry is cooked when it reaches 165 degrees; for other foods, see the online U.S. Department of Agriculture internal temperature chart.