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Holiday food

5 Ways to Make Your Holiday Dinner Germ Free

Wednesday, December 12, 2007 by: Craig Chiodi
Tags: holiday food, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) As we near the holiday season and prepare to enjoy a bountiful and delicious feast, a few simple suggestions for proper food safety can go a long way toward creating a healthy and bacteria-free meal on this most enjoyable holiday.

Tip #1: Practice proper hand washing techniques.

Nothing speaks to food safety as importantly as the cleansing and rinsing of hands and wrists in hot water and soap for 15 20 seconds. This can be done easily enough by singing the Happy Birthday song twice as you wash and rinse. The hot water makes the soap and detergent work more effectively at removing and carrying away the germs and bacteria.

It is thought that upwards of seventy percent of individuals have staphylococcus bacteria residing on their body at all times; so even the simple act of scratching your nose or running your fingers through your hair can carry bacteria from your hands to your food. Take some time and make a conscious effort to keep your clean hands away from your body and clothing while preparing your food.

Tip #2: Thaw your turkey (or ham) in the refrigerator.

This is very important! Adequate time is essential to proper thawing of your turkey. Expect to provide at least one day for every five pounds.

Put the turkey in a roasting pan to catch any drippings. Thawed in this manner, you can expect to keep the bird in the refrigerator up to an additional two days and can even refreeze if necessary.

I would advise against submerging it in a cold water bath to speed up the process. It is very difficult to prevent cross-contamination and maintain adequate cold water temperature. It also prevents you from refreezing if your plans suddenly change and requires you to begin cooking immediately to prevent any build-up of germs and bacteria.

Avoid using the microwave as well. This requires immediate cooking and prevents you from refreezing the bird if your plans change.

Absolutely do NOT attempt to thaw a turkey on your countertop. It will thaw unevenly and the bacteria will build up to a high enough concentration in certain areas and become toxic, even with adequate temperature and cooking.

Tip #3: Avoid washing a raw turkey.

In 2006, the USDA eliminated its recommendation to rinse and wash a turkey in cold water before cooking in the oven. The simple reason: cross-contamination. The act of running cold water over the turkey is more apt to spread any potential pathogens around the sink and surrounding surface area.

If not disinfected properly, this can then spread bacteria to other utensils and cooking equipment. The turkey may come out of the oven bacteria-free, but the plates and forks used to serve it may have been inadvertently contaminated.

Tip #4: Temperature & Time Control.

Purchase a food thermometer at your local department store! This small investment has the potential to drastically reduce your chances of becoming ill if used properly.

Always calibrate quickly before using by filling a small glass with ice cubes and the remainder with cold water. The temperature should read thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit.

The current USDA guidelines for any and all turkey, whether in parts or as a whole bird are fifteen seconds at 165 degrees Fahrenheit to adequately destroy any existing germs or bacteria.

After enjoying your meal, make sure to store leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of removing it from the oven. Use any leftovers within three days or freeze.

Tip #5: Eat Your Superfoods.

Although cranberries are a tradition for the Thanksgiving meal, it can be eaten throughout the rest of the holiday season. Cranberries have always been useful in controlling bladder infections; however it is only recently that scientists have identified "how" this magnificent berry has managed to be so successful. It has been found that chemical compounds known as proanthocyanidins in the cranberry are responsible for an anti-adhesion effect that prevents E. Coli. bacteria from attaching to the bladder and other organs in the body.

It has been found that the anti-adhesion benefits begin about two hours after consumption and extend to about ten hours.

These same anti-adhesion compounds are now being analyzed as to their potential anti-viral effect on gastrointestinal viruses and may be one more reason to grab a spoonful of jellied cranberry sauce with your holiday dinner.

Vai mangiare!

About the author

Craig works from the comfort and warmth of his country home in sunny central Minnesota.
He spends his days as a network consultant for a Fortune 1000 employer and moonlights in food safety and security.
Craig has always had a passion for the kitchen and cooking as evidenced by his personal delight and enjoyment over warm melted butter on a fresh ear of corn from his backyard garden.
Craig Chiodi
Minnesota Certified Food Manager #FM34336
Owner, Chiodi's Cucina Italiana
http://www.nakedbread.com/foodsafety/
http://www.chiodis.com
"From Our Kitchen to Your Table"

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