Poor hygiene procedures in your home can put you at risk. Harmful germs that cause food poisoning can spread very easily, so it’s important to make sure that you take precautions to prevent illness.

The Center for Disease Control estimates 1 in 6 in the United States get sick annually from foodborne illnesses; 128,000 are hospitalized due to foodborne illnesses; and 3,000 die from complications related to foodborne illnesses.

Washing your hands properly is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent and control the spread of many illnesses. Good hand hygiene will reduce the risk of contracting foodborne illnesses caused by bacteria and viruses such as salmonella, E. coli, and norovirus.

It’s especially important to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw food because you can spread bacteria to other food.

Tips for handwashing:

  • Wet hands with warm water
  • Add soap to wet hands
  • Rub for at least 20 seconds
  • Dry hands with a paper towel
  • Turn off faucet with the paper towel

Be sure to wash your hands before preparing or eating food, and after handling raw foods. Also, do not cross contaminate raw meats with fresh fruits and vegetables or other ready-to-eat foods that do not need to be cooked before eating.

In addition, use a clean food thermometer when measuring the internal temperature of meat, poultry, casseroles, and other foods to make sure they have reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

Internal temperatures for meat:

  • Chicken/Turkey – 165°F
  • Ground meat – 145-165°F
  • Pork/Ham – 145-205°F
  • Seafood – 125-145°F
  • Steak – 130-165°F

Bacteria can multiple rapidly in food if left at room temperature. Once cooked, hot foods should be kept hot at temperatures above 135°F, and once prepared, cold foods should be kept cold at temperatures below 41°F.

Lastly, perishable leftovers should be refrigerated to 40°F within 2 hours of preparation.

Now that you understand the importance of food safety and sanitation, this holiday season is the perfect time to start utilizing these safety tips to protect your family’s health.

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