November 13, 2013
Maury Regional offers tips for safe holiday cooking
COLUMBIA, Tenn. - Thanksgiving is almost here again and Maury Regional Medical Center has some tips from the United States Department of Agriculture on how to keep those delicious meals you may be serving family and friends from leaving them with a bad taste. Follow these food safety guidelines to prevent harmful bacteria from causing foodborne illness.
- When shopping, buy your turkey and other cold food like meat and poultry last (right before checking out). Put packages of raw meat and poultry into plastic bags and separate it from the other food in your shopping cart to prevent cross-contamination from juices dripping on other foods.
- Plan to drive directly home from the grocery store and place meat and poultry in the refrigerator as soon as you get home. Freeze ground meat and poultry that won’t be used in one or two days; freeze other meat within four days. Refrigerate other perishable food within one to two hours. When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth. Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep it at 40 degrees or below.
- Completely thaw meat and poultry so it cooks more evenly. Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water. If you are an all-weather griller, for quicker thawing you can microwave defrost and then place the food immediately on the grill. Pre-cooking food partially in the microwave, stove or oven is a good way of reducing grilling time.
- Don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat or poultry and be sure to keep all platters and utensils clean.
- Follow guidelines to be sure that all food is properly cooked before being consumed.
For more tips, visit USDA.gov.