Countdown to the Holidays: Let’s TalkNovember 12 Food Safety
NEWARK — With the start of the holiday season just days away, New Jersey families are busily planning and preparing their holiday menus. Before family and friends gather around the table, the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES) at UMDNJ is reminding holiday chefs and their helpers about safe food handling to prevent foodborne illness.
Clean: Always wash your hands in hot soapy water before and after preparing food. Wash cutting boards, utensils, knives, and countertops after preparing one food and before preparing the next item. Wash all produce before serving.
Separate: Do not cross contaminate foods! Store raw poultry, meat, and seafood on either the bottom shelf of the refrigerator or on a tray, so the juices do not drip onto other foods. To prevent cross contamination, never place cooked food on any unwashed plates that held raw poultry, meat, or seafood. Wash hands after handling raw food.
Cook: Cook foods to proper temperatures! The amount of time needed to cook each turkey depends on the weight of the bird. Bake stuffing to 165 degrees separately from turkey (stuffing in the center of the bird often does not reach 165 degrees). When serving foods, hot foods must be held at 140 degrees or higher.
Chill: Keep cold foods cold (hold at 40 degrees or colder)! If foods are not stored properly, bacteria can multiply rapidly. Perishable foods should not be left at room temperature. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly.
Drink: Decrease the possible risk for food poisoning associated with drinking apple cider or juice by buying pasteurized apple cider or juice. The label will tell you if the product is pasteurized. Warm your cider to 212 degrees to help reduce contamination risks. Alcohol poisoning should always be a concern especially around the holidays when curious children and pets have greater access to cocktails. Empty all glasses and/or cans that contain alcohol as promptly as possible.
For more information on food poisoning risk and treatment call the New Jersey Poison Control Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. The New Jersey Poison Control Center Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for treatment advice for emergency poisonings as well as non-emergency questions regarding medications, household products, plants or environmental contaminants.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.