Know Food Safety Guidelines for the Holidays
There are few other times in the year where so many people come together to share a meal. The Husband and Wife Law Team would like to remind everyone that practicing food safety can help avoid food poisoning and other dangerous consequences. There are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare food.
Wash your hands. One of the most important first steps before preparing any meal is to make sure you wash your hands. Wash your hands vigorously for at least 30 seconds in warm water with anti-bacterial soap. Make sure to dry them using a clean towel. This will help eliminate most of the germs on your hands. If you touch your face, sneeze, or cough, wash your hands again before going back to cooking.
Wash fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables can be dangerous if they are not properly washed. Using cool water, rinse and scrub the food gently with your hand or a soft brush. Rinse well and place on a clean counter or cutting board.
Watch for children’s curious hands. Children often want to help in the kitchen. Keep them occupied with tasks that are safe and age-appropriate. For example, toddlers can stir an empty metal pot with a wooden spoon. Older children can help wash fruits and vegetables, stir cake batter, and set the table. Children should not be allowed to cut with sharp knives or handle hot items. Also, make sure all pot handles are kept well out of reach so children can’t pull them down on their heads.
Separate raw and cooked foods. Don’t cross-contaminate foods by mixing raw items with cooked items. Make sure all foods are thoroughly cooked to prevent the spread of bacteria. If you are using a utensil such as a spoon to handle raw items, use a different spoon for cooked items.
Thaw meat properly. Thaw meat in the refrigerator. Bacteria can spread if meat is thawed too quickly at room temperature. Think about what meats you will need and place them in the refrigerator overnight so they are ready when you begin cooking.
Keep foods refrigerated. Don’t leave perishable foods out for more than an hour. Keep foods covered and refrigerated whenever possible. If guests are eating at different times, put the food away when no one is eating, and bring it back out later.
Consider allergies. Make sure you consider your guests’ allergies. Ask about the, beforehand and then read labels and be certain you aren’t exposing the person to an allergen. If the person has a life-threatening allergy, get rid of the allergen before they arrive to be sure it will not be used in any food preparations. Also, wipe all counters, tables, and other surfaces clean to pick up any old food scraps. Finally, ask the person to come with an epipen in case of emergency.
Consider choking hazards. If small children will be in attendance, make sure to consider choking hazards. Foods can be pureed, smashed into small pieces with a fork, or cut into tiny pieces.
The Breyer Law Offices, P.C. wishes everyone a safe and joyful holiday season!