101 Cooking For Two - Everyday Recipes for Two: Holiday Food Safety

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Holiday Food Safety

Repost from July 4, 2011... it is all still true.

This bad boy is E.coli 0157:H7 sometimes called the hamburger bug and you may get it or any of many other nice buggies if you're not careful out there this weekend. The above E.coli can cause renal failure and even death. Not just a little stomach upset but death. Yes, I'm trying to get your attention.

It is up to you to keep your friends, family and children safe from these things. It is not that hard but after every major holiday I see many children with food poisoning. Fortunately most case are self-limiting meaning they get well.  But it is all avoidable.  

There are a lot of safety tips that should obey this weekend but since this is a cooking blog, I will concentrate on the food related ones. This is not a comprehensive list but just some good reminders.
General Facts:
  • Unwashed hands and surfaces are a prime cause of foodborne illnesses. Hot soapy water is your friend.
  • Cross-contamination is the most common cause of  foodborne illnesses. Keep food prep away from serving areas.
  • Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40 and 140 °F. 
  • Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables. 
Meat handling:
  • Thaw meat in the refrigerator not the kitchen counter. About 5 hours per pound so plan ahead.
  •  Marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Do not use the marinade for anything else, it is contaminated. If you want to use it on the meat during cooking reserve some separately before adding the food. 
  • Wash plates, utensils, and cutting boards that touched raw meat or poultry before using again.

Cooking temperatures: These are the minimum safe temperatures.
Burger and ground meats: 160
Chicken: 165
More safe temperature information at The USDA .

Check the meat temperature chart on my Kitchen Cheat Sheet Page  for more information.

Serving safely
  • Cold foods: If set out then no longer than 2 hours or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees.  Or you can keep them cooled to 40 degrees or less.
  • Hot food should be kept at or above 140°F.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftover foods promptly. If over the time limits then discard.

More food safety information at The FDA.

From "Hill Street Blues" Sergeant Phil Esterhaus: 
Hey, let's be careful out there.


July 3 2013

Dan Mikesell



At July 4, 2013 at 1:26 PM , Blogger Chris said...

Ever notice that they look just like Hot Tamales or the red flavor of Mike and Ikes?

At July 4, 2013 at 1:41 PM , Blogger Dan Mikesell said...

I though Hot Tamales myself. It was the only non-copyrighted photo I could find of the correct bug... At least I hope the CDC doesn't come after me.

At September 15, 2013 at 2:02 AM , Blogger Carolyn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At September 15, 2013 at 2:09 AM , Blogger Carolyn said...

will try again
I'd like to add "Please remove the cooked meat with a clean fork or tongs not the one you have been turning the half-cooked meat with...especially chicken".

At September 15, 2013 at 10:26 AM , Blogger Dan Mikesell said...

Good addition. It is never listed on any of the lists but I take two instruments with me when dealing with chicken or ground meat. I usually don't with steak.


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