Common Dining Dangers You Should Avoid - Access Medical Center Urgent Care

Common Dining Dangers You Should Avoid.

How safe are you and your family during the Holiday Season?

Food Poisoning, Airborne Contagions, Viruses and Bacteria are just a few of the serious risks that you may encounter when you sit down to give thanks on Thursday.  Here are just a few of the most common places where we find foodborne illness during holiday meals.

Salmonella in Your Turkey

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.  It’s important to cook your turkey to an internal temperature of 180°F to kill all of the salmonella bacteria. The only way to really know if a turkey is at the right temperature is to use a meat thermometer (insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the muscle away from the bone).

Don’t Breed Bacteria Before You Cook the Turkey

According to a survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association, nearly one in three Americans (31 percent) typically thaws frozen meat on the kitchen counter, under hot water in the kitchen sink, or in the oven— all big food safety no-nos.

According to the USDA, the best way to thaw frozen meat is refrigerator thawing. After thawing in the refrigerator, items such as ground meat, stew meat, poultry, seafood, should remain safe and good quality for an additional day or two before cooking; red meat cuts (such as beef, pork or lamb roasts, chops and steaks) three to five days. Food thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking, although there may be some loss of quality.

E. coli from your Veggies

In recent years, however, outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to fruits and vegetables have become more common. These outbreaks come from produce grown both in the United States and in other countries. Thoroughly wash raw fruits and vegetables just before preparing or eating them. This not only helps remove dirt, bacteria and stubborn garden pests, but it also helps remove residual pesticides. Separate and individually rinse the leaves of spinach and lettuce. Peel potatoes, carrots, yams and other root vegetables, or clean them well with a firm scrub brush under lukewarm running water. Pat dry with paper towels.

Reheating Gravy Improperly

Most kitchen-savvy individuals know to bring gravy to a boil before serving. This kills off harmful bacteria and provides time for the gravy to thicken; however, they forget to do so again when re-heating. The temperature danger zone for food is between 40-140° F. Food that is left out can easily reach this zone, and when it does, bacteria starts multiplying. The more bacteria multiples, the more are waiting to hit your stomach, and the higher the chance that you’ll be missing the football game after dinner. Imagine how long your gravy sits out on Thanksgiving Day! That’s why it’s so important to cook the gravy to 165 °F or higher before adding it to your leftover mashed potatoes the next day.

Your Sneezy Uncle

He’s contagious with the Common cold. According to the CDC, most cough, cold and flu viruses are passed from person to person by respiratory droplets.  People with the flu virus can spread droplets to others up to about 6 feet away.  Have him cover his mouth when he sneezes and wash your hands often.