With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we here at BSN Solutions thought it was time to talk turkey about safe holiday cooking. So, why is food safety so important this time of year? First of all, the people for whom we care, because of aging and/or illness, may have weakened immune systems that make them more susceptible to foodborne illness. Secondly, cooks will be spending more time in the kitchen handling foods that they may or may not be used to serving. Thirdly, the need for “food holding” greatly increases with the varied menus of holiday dining. Put them all together and you have good reason to follow the Four Core Objectives of Food Safety. These four core areas appear multiple times through the process of purchasing, preparing, and serving the Thanksgiving meal.
1.CLEAN: Bacteria can spread so keep clean hands, working area, equipment and food.
2.SEPARATE: Separate raw and ready to eat foods, keep cutting boards separate and use different plates when transferring from raw to cooked foods.
3.COOK: Bacteria can be killed so cook at the proper temperatures.
4.CHILL: Bacteria grow at room temperature, so chill
Did you know that the top two food factors that contribute to foodborne illness are improper holding and poor personal hygiene? So something as simple as holding food at the right temperature and washing your hands frequently can make a big difference in safe holiday cooking. Here are a few more tips:
- When handling raw turkey and eggs, wash your hands before and after.
- Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, counter and table tops with hot soapy water or in dish machine after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next recipe.
- Sanitize the counters and the cutting boards with 1 tablespoon unscented bleach to 1 gallon of water.
- Rub firm-skin fruits and vegetables under running tap water with a clean vegetable brush. Do this even though the skins and rinds are not intended for consumption.
Thanksgiving food safety is so important that we have created a free downloadable ebook called The Inside Scoop on Safe Holiday Cooking that teaches the four core objectives as they relate to holiday food safety. Along with the ebook is a 10-question quiz that will give assisted living administrators the opportunity to earn 1 free CEU. You can also download a slide show training module you can and use to teach holiday food safety to your food service staff. With Thanksgiving is fast approaching, take advantage of this opportunity RIGHT NOW!