Baltimore County Now
William A. Bridges, Environmental Health Specialist
Baltimore County Department of Health
Environmental Health Services
Parties, family dinners, and other gatherings where food is served are all part of the holiday cheer. But the merriment can change to misery if food makes you or others ill. Use the following seven tips to make your holiday a safe one.
1. Are you thawing correctly?
Thawing the turkey or any meat product on the counter might seem easier, but it’s not safe. Thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, in cold running water or in the microwave continuing with the cooking process.
2. Got a thermometer?
No matter how good it looks, you can only tell if a whole turkey is safely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Always use a food thermometer. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria.
3. Should you dress it?
Whether it is cooked inside or outside the bird, all stuffing and dressing must be cooked to a minimum temperature of 165ºF. For optimum safety, cooking your stuffing in a casserole dish outside of the bird is recommended. To avoid harmful bacteria growth, never stuff your turkey the night before.
4. Can you leave it out?
As tempting as it is to leave out for all to admire, your pumpkin pie contains milk and eggs, so first bake it to the safe minimum temperature of 160 degrees F., then refrigerate after baking.
5. Wanna taste?
Using the same spoon for stirring and tasting is bad manners and oh yeah, it can spread bacteria and viruses.
6. Did you use soap and water?
Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.
7. More leftovers than usual?
· Refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking.
· Use leftover foods within 3-4 days or freeze.
· Reheat leftovers thoroughly to 165 degrees F.
Here’s hoping you and yours have a happy, healthy and delicious holiday meal. For more information on holiday food, travel and pet safety, visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/health.
Dr. Barbara McLean, Chief, Bureau of Prevention and Protection
Baltimore County Department of Health
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, but even these items require proper care and preparation. The proportion of foodborne illnesses associated with fresh fruits and vegetables has increased over the past few years, but you can enjoy them safely by knowing and following these four steps:
When shopping, check to make sure that fresh and packaged fruits and vegetables are not bruised or damaged.
Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh fruits and vegetables.
Clean all surfaces with hot water and soap— countertops, cutting boards, knives and peelers before and after food preparation.
Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking. Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub thicker-skinned produce such as melons and cucumbers.
Washing fruits and vegetables with detergent, bleach or commercial produce washes is not
When shopping, keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from household chemicals and raw meat, poultry and seafood. Keep them apart in the grocery cart, in the grocery bags and at home, in the refrigerator.
Do not use the same cutting board for fruits and vegetables that you’ve used for your raw meat, poultry or seafood before thoroughly washing it with hot water and soap.
Refrigerate all cut, peeled or cooked fruit and vegetables promptly.
Prevent fruits and vegetables from touching raw meat, poultry, seafood or their juices.
When preparing produce, be sure to remove and throw away any bruised or damaged portions. Then wash thoroughly under running water
Fruits and vegetables should never be left out for more than two hours after cutting, peeling or cooking
I hope these tips will enable you and your family to fresh fruits and vegetables safely this summer. For more information on food safety, visit: www.fightbac.org/.