How to keep your holiday foods safe

Do not bring foodborne illness to your holiday table!

Holiday parties are a great opportunity to bring family and friends together. It is also an opportunity to bring something else to your party that you do not want – foodborne illness. Food is a part of holiday cheer and purchasing, preparing and storing it should be done properly. This holiday season and throughout the year Michigan State University Extension suggests following these tips to help reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

  • Wash your hands with soap under warm, running water before and after handling food
  • Separate raw meat, seafood and eggs from other foods in your grocery cart, grocery bags and in refrigerator
  • Place meat and poultry in plastic bags provided at the grocery stores and meat counters
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, countertops and utensils with hot water and soap
  • Do not rinse meat or poultry, it can spread germs around your kitchen
  • Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below; refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers within two hours
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables, then dry with a paper towel, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten
  • Never defrost food at room temperature; defrost either in the refrigerator, microwave or cold water
  • Use a food thermometer to cook food to a safe internal temperature
  • Clean out your refrigerator, throw our leftovers after 3 to 4 days

These food safety tips should be followed all year around. The holidays should be remembered for the best of times, not from a food borne illness. Contact your local Michigan State University Extension office for more information on keeping food safe, how long to keep leftovers and preserving foods safely. 

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