Holiday Food Safety

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Lauren-Taylor Levin
  • 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Although the holidays are filled with joy, they could also turn sour if your food isn’t properly cooked or handled the correct way.

Follow the tips below to ensure foodborne illnesses aren’t ruining the fun during your holiday festivities.

Clean: Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after preparing food. Wash all utensils, dishes and countertops. Rinse fresh produce with water to eliminate bacteria from the outside to the inside as you cut or peel them.

Separate: Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry and their juices separate from produce and cooked foods. Never use a utensil used on cooked foods that was previously used on raw foods unless it was properly cleaned with soap and water prior to use.

Cook: Using a food thermometer when cooking meat and poultry will ensure your meal is cooked to a safe internal temperature. Beef, veal and lamb roasts should be cooked to 145 degrees. Ham, pork and egg dishes should be cooked to 160 degrees. Turkey, stuffing, casseroles and leftovers should be cooked to 165 degrees.

Chill: Refrigerate your leftovers within two hours of being cooked. Make sure to keep the refrigerator at 40 degrees or below. Never thaw a turkey, ham or other frozen meat at room temperature. Thawing should be done in the refrigerator. Allow two and one-half hours to three hours per pound for thawing time. For example, a 12-pound turkey should take 24 - 36 hours to thaw. Keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold.

Holiday party tips: Never partially cook foods to be completed at a later time. Thoroughly chill foods to be transported and avoid cooking them more than 12 hours ahead of the event. Check with the host/hostess to be sure there is adequate room to safely store your dish before and after the meal.

From all of us at the 366th Fighter Wing have a happy holiday season!

For additional food safety tips, visit or contact Public Health at DSN: 728-7280