Important Tips for Holiday Cooking SafetyThe holidays are a time for sharing festive meals with family and friends. With so many details to remember, these important tips can help you prepare and cook food safely year-round to keep your kitchen healthy and your food safe.

Home chefs should apply these four "easy to remember" tips — Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill — into practice in order to be food safe during the holiday.

Wash hands, surfaces and utensils often to avoid spreading bacteria when preparing food. Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of foodborne illness.

Use different cutting boards for raw meat, poultry, seafood and veggies. When you prepare your holiday dinner, keep the raw meat away from vegetable and side dishes that won't be cooked.

You can't tell it's done by how it looks! Cooked food is safe only after it’s been heated to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria. Color and texture alone won’t tell you whether your food is done. Use a food thermometer.

Did you know that illness-causing bacteria can grow in perishable foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them? By refrigerating foods promptly and properly, you can help keep your family safe from food poisoning at home. Keeping the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below can keep bacteria from growing. 


Web sites

The Meat and Poultry Hotline is staffed Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern Time, year-round. It will be available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Thanksgiving Day. Consumers are encouraged to contact the Hotline at (888) MPHotline or (888)674-6854.