One overlooked area during the holidays is how common it is to contract a stomach bug due to the foods consumed at this time of year, from undercooked meats & poultry to dairy-based dips that have been left out too long at the office party! Annie Pryor, of Stop the Stomach Flu, offers these timely tips to follow as we start preparing for our Thanksgiving feast and the upcoming holidays.
Tips to Avoid Food Borne Illness this Thanksgiving
By Annie Pryor Ph.D. (Biochemistry)
- Cook the turkey to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Always use a meat thermometer.
- Wash your hands and ANYTHING that touches raw meat, poultry, or eggs. Don’t let one drop of raw turkey juice find its way to the whipped cream.
- Do not eat perishable food that has been left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Throw it away. Food must be kept cold (below 40 degrees F) or hot (above 140 degrees F). Put the food in the fridge right after the meal so you can really enjoy your turkey sandwich the next day. Of course, if your mayonnaise has been around since last Thanksgiving, it is time to purchase a new jar!
- Do not prepare food for other people if you have had an intestinal illness (vomiting and/or diarrhea) within the past 3 days. If Aunt Betty was recently sick with a stomach bug, do not eat the mashed potatoes that she brought.
- If you are storing food outside because your fridge is full, it must be less than 40 degrees F outside. Do not set the food in the sun, and put the food in air-tight containers. Mold spores blow around outside and will land on your food and grow if it is just loosely covered in foil. Watch out for neighborhood dogs. (and other animals, such as raccoons!)