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Smart Cooking this Holiday Season

by Ben Nuelle

I’m sure you will hold plenty of celebrations over the next few days. A food specialist from the USDA provides tips to keep you healthy.  Food Safety Education Specialist Kristina Beaugh is with FSIS or Food Safety Inspection Service. Beaugh says before you start cooking your ham or turkey you need to wash hands and surfaces.

“Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. The second step we say is separate. Make sure you are separating all of the raw meat and poultry from ready to eat foods. Use separate cutting boards, utensils, everything like that. If you do use a cutting board for raw meat, either use a separate one for ready-to-eat foods or vegetables or wash with hot water and soap before using it again.”

Beaugh says it is very easy to transfer germs or bacteria when cutting meats and vegetables on the same cutting board.

“It’s so easy because the juice can get into the cutting board into those pores of the cutting board and transfer onto lettuce or tomatoes you’re cutting that may not be cooked. It can really make you sick. We also recommend using a food thermometer for things like beef, pork, lamb, veil. It should be cooked to 145 degrees with a three-minute rest time.”

The USDA also has more tips including cooking for office parties, mailing food, and more.

A link to USDA food safety tips can be found here.

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