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10 Food Safety Tips for the Holidays and the New Year

1. Wash hands. Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling any food.

2. Use different cutting boards for different foods. Consider using separate cutting boards for ready-to-eat foods such as fresh produce, bread, and cooked foods versus raw meats, poultry, and seafood. Wash cutting boards and knives in hot soapy water after food preparation.

3. Use a food thermometer. Use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry, and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature.

4. Cook eggs properly. Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. When making eggnog, use pasteurized egg products or powdered egg whites.

5. Cook your dough before eating baked goods. Don't eat uncooked dough, which may contain raw eggs.

6. Set your refrigerator and freezer to the correct temperatures. Set your refrigerator at or below 40F and the freezer at 0F. Check both periodically with an appliance thermometer.

7. Refrigerate leftovers. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, leftovers, takeout foods, and any type of food that needs to be refrigerated within two hours of eating it.

8. Separate meat plates from other food. Never place food on the same plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood unless plate has been thoroughly washed. Also, store raw meat, poultry, and seafood tightly wrapped on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. This prevents the raw juices from dripping on other food.

9. Replace and wash dishtowels and sponges often. Replace and wash dishtowels and sponges often to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria throughout the kitchen. Use paper towels to dry washed hands after handling raw foods.

10. Wash all produce. Wash all fresh produce, even prepackaged greens, to minimize potential bacterial contamination.

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