Meijer offers tips for food safety during the holidays
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., 2014-11-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — Everyone loves the holiday meal, but according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six people get sick each year nationwide from foodborne illness. By following a few simple tips this Thanksgiving, you can prevent the holiday meal from biting you back.
“Unfortunately, many people put themselves and their guests at risk for foodborne illness during the holiday meal simply because they aren’t aware of the dangers,” said Tina Miller, healthy living advisor for Meijer. “We can still enjoy our family traditions of preparing and serving a big holiday meal, but with a better understanding of the risks, we can keep everyone safe from having a food hangover.”
Some of the easiest food safety tips include:
Thaw that Turkey Properly
One of the biggest mistakes people make is letting a frozen turkey thaw at room temperature. A frozen turkey should be thawed in the refrigerator, and be sure to plan for 1 day of thawing time for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. It’s OK to thaw a frozen turkey in the sink, but only in cold water that is replaced every 30 minutes.
Don’t let food sit out
Everyone loves to get seconds and thirds, but after a couple of hours at room temperature you may have created a bacteria buffet. Don’t let food sit out for more than 2 hours; get it into the refrigerator.
Keep foods at safe temperatures
Keep perishable food in the refrigerator until ready to prepare or serve and make sure hot foods are served at safe temperatures. This means 165 degrees for both turkey and the stuffing in the bird. Mashed potatoes and other sides should be no less than 140 degrees.
Don’t keep leftovers around too long
Everyone loves to eat them, but after too long it’s a bad idea. Gravy, stuffing and sides with turkey juices should be eaten or frozen within 24 hours. For other items, including sides and casseroles, 72 hours is the max.
Don’t leave leftover food out for grazing – bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature and can make your leftovers unsafe for eating the next day. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of serving.
Avoid cross contamination
Don’t allow raw meat juices to come into contact with cooked food or other foods that are to be served raw. It’s best to keep utensils separate, and always make sure everyone washes their hands.
“The holidays are a time of laughter and good cheer, but food safety is no laughing matter,” Miller said.
Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 213 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. As the inventor of the “one-stop shopping” concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive apparel departments, garden centers and electronics offerings. For more information on Meijer, please visit www.meijer.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/meijer and @twitter.com/meijerPR or become a fan atwww.facebook.com/meijer.
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Contact: Joe Hirschmugl, 616-791-3943, Joseph.Hirschmugl@meijer.com