OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in six Americans become sick with a foodborne illness every year.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health has released some tips to avoid foodborne illness while preparing meals for the upcoming holidays:
- Clean: Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before, during and after handling food. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.
- Separate: Germs that cause illness can spread from raw food to other foods. Use separate cutting boards and keep raw meats and their juices away from fruits and vegetables.
- Cook: Always check the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry and egg dishes with a food thermometer to ensure the food is cooked to a safe temperature. For more information, please visit the Safe Minimum Cooking Chart.
- Chill: Refrigerate leftover foods promptly. When foods are left out unrefrigerated, harmful germs multiply quickly. Discard any food left out more than two hours.
- Illness: Anyone who has been sick with diarrhea or vomiting should not prepare food for at least 24 hours after symptoms have stopped.
OSDH is also offering tips for preparing and reheating your turkey:
- Thaw: Allow enough time for a frozen turkey to defrost. Turkey, thawed incorrectly, may look safe to eat but will be undercooked, allowing illness-causing germs to survive inside. For more information about how to properly thaw a turkey based on weight and time in the refrigerator, in cold water, or using the microwave, please visit Safe Holiday Cooking.
- Cook: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the turkey is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. For stuffed turkeys, the internal temperature of the stuffing must reach 165 degrees before it is safe to eat; however, the safest way to cook stuffing is to cook in a separate dish.
- Store: Refrigerate remaining foods and leftover turkey within two hours. Eat leftover turkey, stuffing and gravy within three to four days. Reheat leftover gravy to a rolling boil, and thoroughly reheat other leftovers to 165 degrees.
According to the OSDH, symptoms of foodborne illness usually include nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.
For more information regarding food safety, please visit OSDH’s website.