York Region offers tips on safe food handling over the holidays
Food and holiday celebrations go hand-in-hand. This holiday season, The Regional Municipality of York reminds residents to prepare food safely to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
Don’t spoil your potluck
Everyone loves a good holiday potluck. When bringing food to a holiday party at work or home, remember to keep hot food hot by transporting it in an insulated container that can maintain a minimum temperature of 60°C (140°F). Be sure to transport cold food in a cooler with ice or ice packs to ensure the temperature stays at 4°C (40°F) or colder. If you are attending an out-of-town party and have a far way to go, try to bring non-perishable items that are less likely to spoil, including bread, bottled non-alcoholic beverages, fruits and vegetables.
Keep salmonella out of your eggnog
Eggnog is a delicious holiday tradition but can cause food poisoning if made incorrectly. Food poisoning is caused by salmonella which can be found in eggs not properly cooked. If you make eggnog with whole eggs, heat the milk and egg mixture to at least 71°C (160°F). Try to use only pasteurized egg products and keep eggnog cold by storing in the refrigerator.
Don’t undercook your holiday meal
Cook turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 85°C (185°F) and use a probe thermometer to check, inserting it in the thickest part of the meat without touching bone. Slow cooking below an oven temperature of 177°C (350°F) is not recommended as it allows harmful bacteria to multiply. Keep hot pre-cooked food in the oven at a temperature of at least 60°C (140°F) until you are ready to serve.
Keep leftovers safe for the next day
Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours after cooking. Before consuming, leftover food should be reheated so it reaches an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F) or higher.
When preparing any food, always remember to clean, separate, cook and chill:
• Wash hands with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds before and after handling food
• Keep cutting boards, dishes, utensils, cloths, countertops and food preparation equipment clean
• Use one cutting board for ready-to-eat food and a separate one for raw meat
• Keep your refrigerator temperature at 4°C or (40°F) or lower ; use a fridge thermometer
York Region’s Food Safety Program takes a variety of approaches to ensure residents, visitors and businesses prepare and consume food that is safe to eat and comes from an approved source.
For more information on this or any other health-related program, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933 or visit www.york.ca/foodsafety
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Media Contact: Lisa Sposito, Community and Health Services, The Regional Municipality of York
905-830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 4106 After-Hours Cell: 905-955-2533 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Regional Municipality of York provides services to 1.1 million residents and 41,000 businesses that employ 516,000 people