Safe Foods for the Holidays

— Written By Emily Troutman and last updated by
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Holiday meals have been linked to many harmful pathogens, including Salmonella and Campylobacter. Cooking for a large crowd, whether in the home or a community kitchen, can lead to mistakes at the expense of food safety.

Follow these tips to have a safe and happy holiday season:

  • Clean and sanitize utensils and work surfaces after preparing raw turkey for roasting.
  • Wash your hands after handling raw meat or poultry.
  • Don’t wash your turkey – research shows that when washing poultry, pathogens can be spread within 3 feet of the sink, where other foods may be prepared.
  • Color is not an indicator of safety or doneness – the only way to know whether the turkey is done is with a tip-sensitive digital thermometer reading at least 165℉
  • Test temperature in multiple spots, without hitting the bone – hitting the bone could give an inaccurate temperature reading
  • Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of taking it out of the oven – Turkey should be cooled to 41℉ quickly. This is best accomplished by slicing it and putting it in small re-sealable bags and laying them flat in the refrigerator. Some spore-forming bacteria will grow and form toxins if kept at room temperature for too long.