PIERRE, S.D. (KELO-AM) – Remember food safety to prevent food-borne illness and make sure holiday gatherings don’t turn merriment to misery, says a state health official.
“Without proper food safety practices holiday parties and gatherings can result in food-borne illness,” said Bill Chalcraft, health protection administrator for the South Dakota Department of Health. “To prevent food-borne illness, it’s important to wash your hands thoroughly, cook and store foods at proper temperatures, and avoid preparing food when you’re sick.”
Chalcraft noted there has already been one Christmas party outbreak reported this season that sickened more than 50 people.
Food-borne illness symptoms can include mild or severe diarrhea, fever, vomiting and abdominal pain. Most people recover on their own without medication but some need fluids to prevent dehydration.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year food-borne illness sickens roughly one in six Americans, or 48 million people, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die.
Through the end of November in South Dakota, nearly 500 cases of the food-borne illnessesSalmonella (172), Campylybacter (283) and E. coli (41) had been reported for the year.
Chalcraft recommends the following safety tips for preparing holiday foods:
- Clean. Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils and countertops.
- Separate. Keep raw meat and poultry separate from ready-to-eat foods.
- Cook. Cook foods to a safe temperature, using a food thermometer to check – 145°F forwhole meats, 160°F for ground meats, 165°F for poultry and stuffing.
- Chill. Keep your refrigerator below 40°F, and refrigerate leftovers right away.
- When cooking large batches of food ahead of time, make sure to cool them quickly and reheat properly.
- Don’t lick the bowl if raw eggs are in the batter and don’t use raw eggs in your eggnog.
- Don’t prepare food for others if you’re sick.
To learn more about food safety, check http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/basics/ or see the FDA site, www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm092815.htm, for more food safety tips for the holidays.