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Avoid food poisoning this Christmas

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December 24, 2015 - 7:00 AM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Food can play an important role in holiday celebrations but if not prepared properly it could lead to a holiday to remember for all the wrong reasons.

Turkey, eggnog and foods served buffet-style can easily lead to food poisoning, which can cause cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Not the happiest way to spend your family time.

To protect your family and friends, and yourself, from food poisoning follow these basic steps:

- Clean: Wash your hands and all kitchen surfaces with warm, soapy water before, during and after preparing food.
- Separate: Separate raw foods, such as meat and eggs, from cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods.
- Cook: Cook food to a safe internal temperature. Check this by using a digital food thermometer.
- Chill: Refrigerate food and leftovers promptly at 4°C (40°F) or below.

Harmful bacteria does not change the way the food looks, smells or tastes, so if in doubt, throw it out.

Other tips from Health Canada:

- Turkey and stuffing: If you are cooking a turkey this holiday season, make sure it is cooked thoroughly by checking the internal temperature with a digital food thermometer. Insert the digital thermometer into the thickest part of the breast or thigh. Turkey should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 85°C (185°F). To avoid cross-contamination, cook stuffing separately—either in its own oven dish or on the stove top. If you stuff your turkey, stuff it loosely just before roasting and remove all stuffing immediately after cooking. Cook stuffing to a minimum temperature of 74°C (165°F) and refrigerate within two hours of cooking.
- Eggnog: Store-bought eggnog is pasteurized and does not need to be heated to kill harmful bacteria. If you decide to make eggnog at home, heat the egg-milk mixture to at least 71°C (160°F) and refrigerate it in small, shallow containers so it cools quickly.
- Holiday buffets: The most important food safety tip to consider when preparing a buffet meal is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. To keep food hot, use warming trays, chafing dishes or crock pots. To keep food cold, put serving trays on crushed ice.
- Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible, no more than two hours from the time the food was cooked. If perishable foods have been sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours, throw them out.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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