DENISON, TX - The cooler weather is a reminder the holidays are fast approaching. But before you prepare those holiday meals. The Grayson County Health Department has some tips about how to safely prepare your thanksgiving feast for your family.
The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration spent with friends and family, not spent running back and forth to the bathroom. Amanda Ortez with the Grayson County Health Department says it only takes a few simple cooking precautions to avoid getting sick over the holidays.
"First and foremost is to wash you hands of course and wash them often especially between handling raw meats and other ready to eat foods."
And don't thaw the thanksgiving turkey at room temperature.
"The proper way to thaw your turkey," Ortez said, "is at refrigerated temperatures which is 41 or below."
Ortez says it's actually pretty easy to avoid food born illness over the holidays, you just have to make sure that whatever surface your cooking on you clean as well.
"Sanitize surface between raw meats and of course things such as produce, lettuce and things that are not going to be cooked prior to consuming," Ortez said.
The most common mistake families make is leaving the food out for people to graze on after the meal is over.
"Don't allow foods to remain in the danger zone, basically room temperature, for more than two hours," Ortez said. "And if it's more than four hours you need to immediately discard the items that have been out."
Following these simple tips could mean the difference between a memorable happy holiday and a miserable experience you'd rather forget.
"You don't want to send them home with an illness based upon the fact that you could have used a few simple steps to avoid food born illnesses," said Ortez.
For more tips on holiday food safety you can log on to www.cdc.gov/features/turkeytime