Contra Costa health officials are reminding people to practice safe food handling in hopes that everyone will have a happy and healthy holiday. Every year, millions of Americans get food poisoning from eating foods contaminated with dangerous viruses and bacteria that cause anything from nausea to hospitalization.
It is especially important to practice safe food handling techniques when preparing meals for the elderly, young children and pregnant women, all of whom are at greatest risk for food poisoning.
Health officials recommend the following this Holiday season:
- Wash hands before and after preparing food.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Keep raw meat and poultry apart from other foods.
- Wash hands, utensils and kitchen surfaces with hot soapy water after they touch raw meat or poultry.
- Cook poultry to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter.
- Eat cooked food promptly and refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours after cooking. (Discard any turkey, stuffng, and gravy left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours).
- Keep sick people out of the kitchen.
A foodborne illness is a disease that can be caused by a germ (virus or bacteria) or a chemical that contaminates the food you eat. Some food-borneÂ illnesses can take a week or longer for symptoms to surface. Cleanliness is the best defense against food poisoning.
For more tips on safe food handling, visit http://cchealth.org/topics/foodborne/