Holiday feasts call for food-safety awareness

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Such a problem to have – more food than you can eat. The Dallas County Health Department offers some advice on how to handle your bounty.

When preparing your feast, start by washing your hands, counters, cutting boards and seldom-used utensils and pans before getting started. (Your giant roaster may not have been used since last year.)

Pay attention to instructions on thawing foods. Keep raw poultry, meat and seafood separate from other foods and surfaces.

At serving time, keep hot foods above 160 degrees and cold foods under 40 degrees. The National Turkey Federation has many more tips on handling poultry.

After the big meal, cool leftovers more quickly in the refrigerator by using shallow containers. Take extra care to use bleach-containing cleaner on counters, the sink and stovetop.

Change your dishcloth and dishtowel as they come in contact with juices and splatters from the raw foods.

Eat or freeze most leftovers within three to four days. Gravy is the exception – freeze it or throw it out after two days.

The experts at Iowa State University Extension provide free advice to home cooks, plus trainings such as food safety for events.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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