Oklahoma State Department of Health Shares Food Safety Tips Ahead of Holiday Season

KOKH - November 23, 2022 8:51 am

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is sharing some food safety tips ahead of the holidays.

According to the CDC, every year approximately one in six Americans become ill with a foodborne illness. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea, all of which are unwelcome during the holiday season.

OSDH is sharing some food safety tips for preparation of holiday foods to help avoid these unwanted foodborne illnesses:

  • Clean: Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before, during and after handling food. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you move on to the next food.
  • Separate: Germs that cause illness can spread from raw food to other foods. Make sure to use separate cutting boards and keep raw meats and their juices away from fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook: Always check the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry, and egg dishes with a food thermometer to ensure the food is cooked to a safe temperature. Click here to learn more about the safe, minimum internal temperatures when cooking.
  • Chill: Be safe with your leftovers and refrigerate them. When foods are left out unrefrigerated, harmful germs can multiply quickly. Discard any food that is left out for more than two hours.
  • Illness: Anyone who has been sick with diarrhea or vomiting should not prepare food for at least 24 hours after their symptoms have stopped.

The OSDH is also offering tips for preparing and reheating turkey:

  • Thaw: Allow enough time for a frozen turkey to defrost. Turkey, even if it’s thawed incorrectly, may look safe to eat, but it will come out undercooked and allow harmful germs to survive inside the meat. To learn more about how to properly thaw a turkey based on its weight and the time spent in the refrigerator, soaking in cold water, or using the microwave to defrost, click here.
  • Cook: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the turkey is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. For stuffed turkeys, the internal temperature of the stuffing must reach 165 degrees before it is safe to consume. However, the safest way to cook stuffing is to use a separate casserole dish.
  • Store: After preparing the meal, refrigerate the remaining foods and leftover turkey within two hours. Eat leftover turkey, stuffing and gravy within the following three to four days. Reheat leftover gravy to a rolling boil and thoroughly reheat other leftovers until it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees.

To learn more about safely preparing holiday foods, click here.


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