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UF/IFAS expert gives food-safety tips for Thanksgiving

 

A tomoato being hand-washed in a kitchen sink.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — You’re about to feast, give thanks, watch football and, maybe, take a nap. But as you head into the Thanksgiving holiday, how do you make sure you’re preparing your food properly and, then after dinner, how to you ensure your food stays safe to eat?

Amy Simonne, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor of food safety and quality, said although there are few clear-cut answers, she offers some situations and suggestions:

  • If the turkey, stuffing and gravy or other perishable foods are left out at room temperature longer than two hours or for one hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees, the Food Safety Inspection Service of the U.S. Department (USDA/FSIS) recommends you discard them.
  •  After you’ve cooked and served the meal, when turkey, stuffing or gravy are not left between 40 and 140 degrees, you can divide the products into small portions and keep them in the refrigerator for three to four days or in the freezer for two to six months. This recommendation also comes from the USDA/FSIS. For more information, click on: http://1.usa.gov/1uKfrNl.

Simonne offers a common-sense tip for Thanksgiving food-safety: Practice good personal hygiene.

She also advises against washing any raw meat or turkey.

“It is not recommended because it causes more contamination in your kitchen,” said Simonne, a faculty member in the UF/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. “Minimize handling those products in the kitchen before cooking.”

Here’s more information about food-safety: http://1.usa.gov/1licv0U, and for food-safety facts vs. myths, click here: http://1.usa.gov/1lDDQ24. For more information on safely preparing and preserving holiday food, click on this UF/IFAS Extension link: http://bit.ly/1PmNvsj.

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Caption: If tomatoes are part of your Thanksgiving meal this year, make sure you wash them well. Amy Simonne, a UF/IFAS professor of food safety and quality, offers many tips to ensure your food preparation and post-meal storage are safe at this year’s Thanksgiving holiday.

Credit: UF/IFAS file.

By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

Source: Amy Simonne, 352-273-3536, asim@ufl.edu