Pella Chronicle

November 22, 2013

Food Safety for Thanksgiving – Avoid the Turkey Trots

Make food safety top priority for holiday meal


The Chronicle

Pella — Whether you’re the go-to grandma who always hosts Thanksgiving dinner or the first-time novice, preparing a holiday meal is an undertaking that requires planning, skill, patience, and most importantly, attention to food safety. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reminds Iowans to take special care when preparing foods for Thanksgiving. “When large gatherings like holiday-related meals happen, we typically hear about people getting ill with diarrhea and vomiting from foodborne illnesses,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “Most of these illnesses are caused by foods that are improperly cooked or stored.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), foodborne illness affects 48 million Americans, causes 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually. Anyone, regardless of race, age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status is at risk. People at the highest risk of becoming very sick from a foodborne illness are the elderly, children, individuals with a weakened immune system, and pregnant women.  Fortunately, most people recover from foodborne illnesses without complications, but symptoms can last anywhere from hours to weeks.

When preparing a turkey, be aware of four main safety issues: thawing, preparing, stuffing and cooking to adequate temperature.

 

 

 

Remember to refrigerate food promptly after the meal. Discard any food left out more than two hours. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water when preparing food and serving. Always wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next.