Thanksgiving is a day to spend with friends and families for sharing thanks, food, stories, but hopefully no foodborne illnesses.
Bridge Sweet – executive director of food safety, Johnson & Wales University, adds why there’s a need to say thanks to modern science and the USDA’s pillars of food safety. Whereas, these pillars simply include clean, separate, cook, and chill.
Making food safety a family affair
Sweet states that every person should mind these pillars of food safety on a daily basis. In accordance with certification including Certified Professional-Food Safety (CP-FS) and Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS), Sweet suggests making food safety a family affair.
Keep your food clean
On Thanksgiving, there may be too many people to cook in the kitchen, as almost every other person wants to lend a helping hand.
To reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses, it is necessary to ensure that all of the helpers (grandma or even children) wash their hands properly. Nowadays, teachers of elementary school are sticklers for handwashing. So, youngsters may wash hands better than everyone else.
Besides cleaning hands, it is vital to ensure that counter space is clean. Also, be sure that food is prepared in separate areas.
If someone is going to make crackers or a platter of cheese, don’t let anyone else use any meat products while standing right next to him/her. Taking some of these precautions can significantly reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Moreover, it is also advised to avoid rinsing the meat before its placed in the oven, as rinsing it in the sink can further enhance cross-contamination risks.
Use a thermometer
Ensure using a meat thermometer to check if it has reached an internal temperature, i.e. 165 degrees (Fahrenheit) for turkey.
The color during cooking can simply tell if the meat is cooked. But Sweet still suggests using a thermometer as no one has super-powers with an x-ray vision.
Be sure to chill
As the family starts getting up from the table after enjoying food, spare some time to properly save the food leftovers. In case, a food remains outside two hours, Sweet suggests avoiding saving this food as a leftover.
The combination of temperature and time can permit the bacteria to grow. So, it is best to discard foods affected by such combinations. Storing the foods in shallow containers may allow more surface area to enhance cooling and place them into the refrigerator.
Also, if there are any leftovers, recommendations are to use them within four days. In her work with JMU, Sweet oversees the compliance of all four of the U.S. campuses of the university within every level of launched food safety standards presented by governmental agencies and the university’s strict guidelines.
She also explains ” Advanced Food Safety, HACCP and Special Processes “. It is a course that provides students with advanced training in the concepts of food safety and special processes, while they concurrently develop workplace skills that are highly valued by employers.