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  • Writer's pictureDr. Mordeana Williams

4 Tips on Food Safety: Prevent food borne illnesses this holiday season

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

As we approach the holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving in a few days the issue of food safety is an apparent concern. This is the time of year and season for many emergency room and urgent care visits related to food poisoning and gastrointestinal problems. Symptoms such as abdominal pain/cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chill, and fever may be caused from unhealthy food preparation to food handling.

Bacteria and other pathogens are invisible enemies ready and waiting to strike. These guys can make people really sick. In fact, millions of these bacteria may already be invading food products. They may even already be on kitchen surfaces, Cutting boards, knives, other utensils and even food.

You have the power to fight back and to reduce your risk of foodborne illnesses. It’s as easy as following some basic steps and practices for food safety.

1. Clean/Wash Surfaces

Wash hands and surfaces often

Did you know that in a recent Study 65% of cases, persons did not wash hands before starting food preparation.

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, meats, vegetables and after using the bathroom, caring for children and sick adults or handling pets.

  • Clean/Wash surfaces, cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food items and before you go on to the next food. SANITIZE SURFACES as an extra precaution to kill germs. Using a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of water.

  • If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

2. Separate to Avoid Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination causes bacteria to spread. Improper handling of raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs can create an inviting environment for cross-contamination. As a result harmful bacteria can spread to food and throughout the kitchen leading to a foodborne illness such as Salmonella Poisoning

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and in your refrigerator.

  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.

3. Cook to safe internal temperature

Remember, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

  • The best way to fight bacteria is to cook at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Use a food thermometer to make sure that the food is cooked to a safe internal temperature.

  • Cook roasts and steaks to a minimum of 145 °F. All poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For Ground Meat bacteria can spread during grinding so cook to at least 160 °F. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links eating under-cooked ground beef with a higher risk of illness.

  • Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny. Avoid recipes in which eggs remain raw or only partially cooked.

  • Cook fish to 145 °F or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.

  • When cooking in a microwave oven make sure there are no cold spots in food where bacteria can survive. For best results, cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.

  • Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating. Heat other leftovers thoroughly to 165 °F.

4. Refrigerate Promptly

Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Do not over stock fridge, spacing allows cold air circulation to help keep food fresh and safe. Use an appliance thermometer to keep refrigerator temperature at 40 °F or below constantly to reduce bacteria growth. The freezer temperature should be 0 °F or below.

  • Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs and other perishables as soon as you get them home from the store.

  • Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food or cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit at room temperature more than two hours; one hour when the temperature is above 90 °F.

  • Never thaw food at room temperature. Food must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. There are three safe ways to thaw food: (1) in the refrigerator, (2) in cold water, and (3) in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.

  • Always marinate food in the refrigerator.

  • Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.

Because we know that even with all the best of intentions there are some cases of food poisoning we are here to help you and can save you a visit to the emergency Room or Urgent Care.

Our VitaMineral IV menu includes drip for Food Poisoning and Hydration. Come try our Quench and Detox, Monster Energy, Immune System Defense, Reduce Inflammation or our Performance and Recovery drip. (516) 233 1030

From VitaMineral IV Therapy and Spa we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holiday and the best of Health.

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