IDPH gives tips on keeping holiday food safe - – Rockford’s News Leader

IDPH gives tips on keeping holiday food safe


'Tis the season for holiday parties and with parties, comes food, and the Illinois Department of Public Health has tips to keep that food safe.

It is estimated that 250,000 foodborne illnesses occur in Illinois each year, and making sure food is properly prepared can keep you and your guests healthy, but it also pays to keep an eye when you're a guest yourself.

"As a guest at holiday parties, there are a couple things you can watch out for to avoid foodborne illness," IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck says. "Hot foods should be hot and cold foods cold. Bacteria will start to grow on food that should be served either cold or hot, that is sitting out for more than a couple hours at room temperature. You should also be cautious when eating certain foods, such as raw oysters, egg drinks, soft-boiled eggs, steak tartare and rare or medium hamburger. These foods can harbor bacteria that cause foodborne illness."

Hosts should follow the following tips to avoid foodborne illness:

  • Clean: Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after preparing food. Wash all utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot soap and water. Rinse fresh produce.
  • Separate: Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat and poultry, and their juices, separate from fruits, vegetables, and cooked foods. Never use a utensil on cooked foods that was previously used on uncooked foods, unless it's washed first with soap and water.
  • Cook: Always use a food thermometer when cooking meat or poultry to make sure it's cooked to a safe internal temperature.
  • Chill: Refrigerate leftovers within two hours. Set your refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Symptoms of a foodborne illness include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or abdominal cramps. Those symptoms can show up anywhere from 30 minutes to two weeks after eating contaminated food, however, most people get sick within four to 48 hours afterward.

If symptoms are severe or the person affected is very young, old, pregnant, or already ill, a doctor should be notified immediately.

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