Holiday Food Safety

We all know one of the best parts of the holidays is the food. Each family does their feasts a little differently but there’s one thing we can be sure of: lots and lots of deliciousness.

It’s important to make certain the feast is prepared properly though, so it has a happy ending for all.

Some general rules of thumb:

  • Check the temperature of all meats with a meat thermometer before taking them out of the oven or off of the grill. A list of minimum safe temperatures for a variety of meats can be found here.
  • Wash all surfaces and tools which have come into contact with raw meat/poultry/fish before using them to prepare or store other foods.
  • As a general rule of thumb, foods requiring refrigeration that have been out of cold storage for more than two hours have the potential to become contaminated with bacteria and should be discarded (the warmer the temperature, the more quickly bacteria will grow). If you have questions about a particular food, you can call the USDA Food Safety Hotline (number below).
  • Wash your hands before and after all food preparation.
  • Wash your hands before eating.
  • Keep uncooked proteins out of the reach of children.
  • Check expiration dates on cans and packages before using the contents.
  • Check with guests before hand to see if anyone has food allergies. If people do have allergies, label foods which contain those ingredients clearly so people with allergies know to stay away.
  • Date leftovers before storing.
  • Label leftovers, including beverages, before storing.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

Still have questions?

Click here to contact Butterball with any questions about turkey. Representatives are available via phone, internet, and text message (your bird doesn’t have to be a Butterball).

Click here to access contact information for the USDA Food Safety Hotline about other types of poultry, fish, meat, veggies, etc. The hotline is accessible by phone, internet, and through an automated/chat system called AskKaren! which has both web and mobile versions.

If you have concerns about a specific item you purchased, contact the store it came from or your local health department.

Your local poison center will be open as always! You can reach us by calling 1-800-222-1222.

Have a safe and happy holiday.




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