Keep it clean for the holidays

Clean tips for keeping your family and friends safe this holiday season.

When we think of all the upcoming holiday events taking place during the next few weeks, we might think of family, friends, buying gifts, wrapping presents, snow, holiday parties and food. One important concept that Michigan State University Extension reminds you to also focus on during this busy and joyous holiday season is “clean.” The word clean can mean lots of different things to different people. During the holidays and this winter, think about clean as it relates to clean hands to prevent the spread of illness causing bacteria. Also, think clean for your produce prepping for your holiday meals and foods.

Keeping hands clean is such an easy way to cut down on the sharing of bacteria and reduce the incidence of illness. During the holidays and flu season it is critical to take the time to thoroughly wash your hands frequently and when handling food, hands should be washed before touching food. Encourage all of those around you to wash hands with soap and warm water and scrub for at least 10-15 second with 20 seconds for total handwashing time.

When preparing fresh produce for your holiday meals and foods here are a few safety practices to consider:

  • Check the expiration dates when purchasing prepackaged fruits or vegetables.
  • Only purchase fresh cut fruits and vegetables like packaged salads and precut melons that are refrigerated at the store. Never purchase fresh cut produce that have not been refrigerated and kept below a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water. This also includes produce items like squash and watermelon, produce with skins and rinds that are not eaten. 
  • Packaged fruits and vegetables labeled “ready-to-eat,” “washed,” or “triple-washed,” do need not be washed. You might contaminate the produce by washing it.
  • Never use detergent or bleach to wash fresh fruits or vegetables. These products are not safe on produce. 
  • Keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs. Do not use the same cutting board without cleaning with hot water and soap before and after preparing fresh fruits and vegetables. 
  • After cutting, peeling or cooking fresh fruits and vegetables, refrigerate it within two hours.

Clean hands and clean produce are two great ways to start your holiday meal planning.

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