Thursday, December 20, 2012

Say What?: holiday hazard

They're back!

Now that I'm just a working gal, and am done with classes on campus I decided I really wanted to bring back Say What? posts because I had so many people who got a lot out of them, just like I did. So say hello to the return of this Thursday treat! Given the time of year I really wanted to do a holiday applicable subject, and I feel like the most common hazard that many don't think about during the holidays-but they pay for after the parties-is food poisoning!

The real issue here is logistics of the food and how long it is in the 'danger zone', which is room temperature or anything below 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If your guests are bringing food and have to travel for more than two hours (bless their cotton socks cause I would never go that far for a holiday party) and their item is not kept hot the whole time, or their chilled item thaws to room temperature it will need to be reheated to at least 165 degrees to kill any bacteria that could have grown on the way. Likewise if the guests are two hours late to the party, their food can't be only kept in a 'warm' oven but needs to be reheated to 165 degrees or more. Also buffet style foods should NOT be kept out for more than an hour.

Any foods containing eggs need to be reheated to 165 degrees no matter how long they've been at room temperature to prevent salmonella, as well as turkey must be reheated to prevent Campylobacter, which is the most common source of bacterial diarrhea. Also make sure that if you actually cook your stuffing in the turkey to rinse it out prior to putting in the stuffing because bacteria can transfer into the stuffing and will then also need to be reheated if it falls into the danger zone for any amount of time. Plus cold stuffing is nasty. Happy holidays, and remember the goal is to not make family members sick with your food unless you really don't want to go or something like that...just kidding!

Don't the holidays just make you fat happy?

If you have any other questions or ideas for Say What? posts that you would like answered please email me at

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