Three Tips to Cut Your Risk for Foodborne Illness
October 4, 2010

leaving-food-outFood safety can be a challenge during the holiday season and it’s probably not the first thing you think about when making holiday goodies. But to keep your gathering from becoming notorious, it’s important to take steps to protect you and your guests from food-borne illnesses.

It is common practice to leave appetizers and desserts out on the table for an extended period of time, but it can quickly become dangerous if foods containing animal products are not held at the proper temperature. Foods that contain egg products such as sauces, pies and deviled eggs become the perfect place for bacteria to grow when held at the incorrect temperature.

By sticking to the following holiday food safety practices, you can keep you and your family free from contracting a foodborne illness.

  • Wash hands frequently – The holiday season comes hand-in-hand with the cold and flu season. To prevent the spread of bacteria, it is important to wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after handling foods.
  • Keep hot foods HOT and cold foods COLD – Hot foods, like soups, dips, or sauces, need to be kept at around 140?F. This can easily be done by using chafing dishes, crock-pots, or warming trays. Cold foods, like deviled eggs, should be held at 40 °F or colder. You can place the dishes in bowls of ice or use smaller serving trays, replacing the food as it is eaten.
  • When in doubt, throw it out – Foods should not sit at room temperature for longer than two hours. It is important to keep track of how long foods have been sitting on the table and if you are in doubt of how long it’s been sitting there, it’s best to discard the whole dish.