Department of Public Health
Brian J. LaGrasse, Director of Public Health
41 Pleasant St.
Methuen, MA 01844
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Email: [email protected]
Methuen Department of Public Health Provides Holiday Cooking Safety Tips
METHUEN – As residents prepare to host family and friends at their homes for Thanksgiving this week, the Methuen Department of Public Health would like to remind the community about best practices while cooking to prevent foodborne illness.
“We want to make sure everyone has a healthy and happy holiday this year,” said Brian LaGrasse, Methuen Director of Public Health. “I strongly encourage residents to review these cooking safety tips to ensure they are properly preparing and 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, LeGrasse 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 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.
- Don’t taste food that looks or smells questionable. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Leftovers should be used within three to four days.
Fore more information on food safety, visit the CDC’s website or contact the Methuen Department of Public Health at 978-983-8655.