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Kane Co. Health Dept. offers tips on enjoying holiday feasts -- safely.

Byline: Submitted by Kane County Health Department

One of the favorite holiday traditions is providing your family with a great, sumptuous feast. Nothing beats sitting around the table with your loved ones to share in the spirit of the season.

One way to make sure that your meals go off without a hitch is to take precautions to prevent the spread of food borne illness.

The Kane County Health Department offers the following food safety tips to help ensure your holiday meals are prepared in a safe manner.

Poultry and stuffed foods should be cooked so that they reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F; cook meat and fish to at least 145 degrees F; cook pork, ground meats and ground fish to at least 155 degrees F. Beef, pork, veal and lamb roast, steak and chops should be cooked to 145 degrees F, with a 3-minute "rest time" after removal from the heat source.

A very important and inexpensive piece of equipment that every kitchen should have is a metal stem thermometer, which is available at any grocery store. How else will you know if your food is cooked to the proper temperature if you don't use a thermometer? Don't rely on guessing.

You should also take precautions to avoid cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is the transfer of harmful microorganisms (germs) from one food to another. Contaminated hands, utensils or equipment can transfer microorganisms.

Examples of cross-contamination are handling raw poultry or meats, and then handling some other food with juice from the meat or poultry still on your hands, or cutting raw poultry with a knife, then using that knife to cut vegetables without first washing the knife.

That's why it is important to frequently wash hands, counters and cooking utensils as a meal is prepared.

Once the meal is over, cool down leftovers to 41 degrees F or below within six hours. The best way to do this is to place the leftover food in shallow pans (no thicker than three inches) before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer.

Also, slice large cuts of meat and debone poultry before cooling or freezing. Avoid leaving leftovers out at room temperature once the meal is over.

Food borne illnesses can be serious enough to require hospitalization and may even be fatal. Apply safe food handling principles and practices to every meal you prepare to help avoid illnesses during this holiday season and throughout the year

To make sure your food is safe, follow these simple guidelines:

* Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often

* Separate: Don't cross contaminate

* Cook: Cook to the right temperature

* Chill: Refrigerate promptly

For information on Food Safety, visit kanehealth.com/food_safety.htm.

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Title Annotation:Neighbor
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Dec 23, 2017
Words:449
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