Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

Prevent Foodborne Illness This Thanksgiving

From the stuffing and mashed potatoes to the pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving is when good food brings us together to give thanks. However, it's also a time when foodborne illnesses are more common. This is because different households often prepare food in the mad rush to get everything done before the holidays.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Thanksgiving is one of the top three holidays for food-related illnesses. At Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, we want to ensure your family has a happy, healthy, and joyous Thanksgiving. Here are some safety tips to help you enjoy the holiday and avoid health issues:

1. Wash your hands thoroughly.

While cooking, washing your hands with soap and warm water is essential, especially after handling raw meat or poultry. This helps prevent the spread of bacteria and other foodborne illnesses. To prevent the spread of common conditions like the flu and the common cold, you should also wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom.

2. Avoid cross-contamination.

One of the most important things you can do to avoid foodborne illness is to practice cross-contamination prevention.

This means keeping raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other food. Use respective cutting boards, plates, and utensils for raw and cooked food. And never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that held raw food.

3. Cook food properly.

Ensuring that your food is cooked to the right temperature kills any bacteria that may be present. You should use a food thermometer to ensure that meat is cooked to the proper temperature. Here are a few temperatures to keep in mind:

  • Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Ground meat should be cooked to 160°F.
  • If you’re serving food that has been sitting out, be sure to reheat it to 165°F. This is especially important for dishes like casseroles or turkey stuffing.

4. Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.

It is essential to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Hot foods should be kept at an internal temperature of 140°F or above, while cold foods should be kept at 40°F or below. Be sure to also refrigerate leftovers promptly.

Remember that turkey and other meat can remain in the refrigerator after being thawed out and will last 1-2 days before cooking.

5. When in doubt, throw it out!

If you're not sure if food is safe to eat, it's better to be safe than sorry. Food that has been sitting out for a long period of time without being chilled or heated should be discarded to avoid food posioning.

Signs of Food Posioning

If you do get sick from eating contaminated food, there are some signs to watch out for:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever

If you experience any symptoms of food poisoning, such as vomiting or diarrhea, seek medical care.

Family Medical Care in Ridgecrest, CA

We hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving! Ridgecrest Regional Hospital is dedicated to keeping your family happy and healthy — while providing exceptional medical care when needed. For more questions on our primary care services, contact us today: (760) 446-3551.