"Holidays are the best. I couldn't imagine being from a small family."The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one out of six Americans (48 million people) will get sick, 128,000 will be hospitalized, and 3,000 will die from foodborne diseases this year. (See A Fatal Cantaloupe?) So far in 2011 the CDC has investigated 65 outbreaks of food illness.
Evidence shows that preventing illness begins with the basics. Stay safe during this holiday season by following these safety tips:
- Clean. Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops.
- Separate. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods.
- Cook. Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry.
- Chill. Keep your refrigerator below 40°F, and refrigerate food that will spoil.
- Report suspected illness from food to your local health department.
- Don't prepare food for others if you have diarrhea or have been vomiting.
- Be especially careful when preparing food for children, pregnant women, those in poor health, and older adults.