Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that means a lot of Americans will be handling meat. Although most of us know to wash our hands after touching meat, and to clean utensils thoroughly after they have been used to prepare meat, there are some other things you should keep in mind to stay safe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 48 million Americans suffer food-caused illnesses every year. Among those, 128,000 require hospital care and another 3,000 are killed.
A university food safety expert, Londa Nwadike, recently told TODAY that being safe with food during the holidays may take a little more effort and time, but the benefits of avoiding sickness make it worthwhile. Nwadike offered a few food safety tips in this regard:
Keep Your Hands Clean
Remember to wash your hands after handling potentially germ-infested food, like raw eggs and meats. Wash your hands before handling food, too. When washing your hands, do so thoroughly, with lots of lather and friction, for 20 seconds or more.
According to Nwadike, most people don't have good hand-washing technique. Sometime, they just run their hands under water, or wipe their hands with a towel, but this is not enough.
Cook Your Food Thoroughly
If you want to know that your meat has been cooked enough, you have to test it with a food thermometer. Buying a quick read thermometer is an excellent investment for your kitchen, if you can afford one, and it will help ensure that the meat, eggs and fish you cook have been brought to appropriate and safe temperatures.
Thaw Your Meat in the Fridge
It might take a little longer, but thawing your meat in the refrigerator is better than putting it in the sink. This is because, as the meat thaws, the inside might still be frozen and cold, but the outside can go up to room temperature.
Don't Cross Contaminate
Finally, you want to avoid cross contamination. This can happen if you put your cooked meat on the same plate you had it on when it was raw. It can also happen if you re-use utensils and cutting boards on which you cut raw meat.
Thanksgiving Lawsuits from Contaminated Food?
If you cook poisonous food for your relatives and friends this Thanksgiving, and they become seriously ill, it could open you up to a personal injury lawsuit. You could be liable to pay for the medical care of people who your eat toxic turkey this Thanksgiving, so be careful!
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