Town of Arlington
Department of Health and Human Services
Christine Bongiorno, Director
27 Maple St.
Arlington, MA 02476
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Christine Bongiorno
Email: [email protected]
Arlington Department of Health and Human Services Provides Holiday Cooking Safety Tips
ARLINGTON – As residents prepare to host family and friends at their homes for Thanksgiving this week, the Arlington Department of Health and Human Services would like to remind the community about best practices while cooking to prevent foodborne illness.
“As always, we want our residents to be able to enjoy their holiday by staying safe and healthy,” said Christine Bongiorno, Arlington Director of Health and Human Services. “As people are getting ready to cook their holiday meals, we want to remind everyone to make note of these safety tips before preparing or cooking food so no one gets sick.”
Typical symptoms of foodborne illness are vomiting, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms, which can start anywhere from hours to days after contaminated food or drinks are consumed. To ensure residents are cooking delicious and safe turkeys, Bongiorno recommends the following safety tips outlined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling any food. Always wash food-contact surfaces (cutting boards, dishes, utensils, countertops) with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next item.
- Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly under cool running water and use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
- Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking, as washing these foods makes it more likely for bacteria to spread.
- Keep raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, and their juices away from foods that won’t be cooked.
- Consider using one cutting board for foods that will be cooked (such as raw meat, poultry, and seafood) and another one for those that will not (such as raw fruits and vegetables).
- Do not put cooked meat or other food that is ready to eat on an unwashed plate that has held any raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, or their juices.
- Use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry, and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature — 165 degrees fahrenheit for a turkey. To check a turkey for safety, insert a calibrated food thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
- Bring sauces, soups, and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating.
- Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm.
- Don’t eat uncooked cookie dough, which may contain raw eggs.
- Refrigerate leftovers and takeout foods—and any type of food that should be refrigerated—within two hours.
- Never defrost food at room temperature. Food can be defrosted safely in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
- Allow the correct amount of time to properly thaw food. For example, a 20-pound turkey needs four to five days to thaw completely when thawed in the refrigerator.
- Leftovers should be used within three to four days.