One “guest” you DON’T want at your Christmas dinner…

With entertaining this holiday season there can come some risks and 92834621hazards.  Good preparation and planning is vital to make sure your celebrations being healthy and fun.

Many times we only think of food borne illnesses as a threat in warm summer weather. That is a perfect environment for food borne illness –but not the only one.

Beat food borne illness this holiday season with these tips, tools and travel-safe foods:

  • Bacteria love any temperatures that are warm and moist.
  • Travel to winter parties tend to last longer and vehicles to be heated.
  • Warm room temperatures can be ideal to shorten the time perishable food can be left outside the refrigerator or freezer Food borne illness can take hold quickly – this time  can be as short as 1 to 2 hours for mayonnaise based foods.
  • Avoid providing a stage for bacteria while in route to your gathering.
  • Keep perishable foods cool by transporting them to your holiday get-together in an insulated cooler kept cold with ice or frozen gel packs. Perishable foods include meat; poultry; seafood; eggs; dairy products; pasta; rice; cooked vegetables; and fresh, peeled and/or cut fruits and vegetables.
  • Winter foods must also be packed with care to avoid cross-contamination.  Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood wrapped separately from cooked foods, or foods meant to be eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables. Pack the cooler immediately before leaving home with foods that have been kept chilled in the refrigerator.
  • Keep the cooler in a cool section of your vehicle, avoid placing cold foods by your feet where they will get warmed by the heater
  • Avoid frequently opening the cooler container containing perishable food.
  • Throw away any perishable leftovers that have been kept out over two hours.  Basically – When in Doubt – Throw it out! There is nothing festive about food poisoning!
  • Set-up your buffet table with food safety in mind. Place your cold serving away from the hot – place breads or rolls in-between.
  • Provide enough serving spoons in each food item so they will not be exchanged between foods.
  • Supply ample clean dishes for your guests to get a new dish for each visit to the buffet table.
  • Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink And Drive! Be prepared to offer a ride home to one in need.

Enjoying the company of family and good friends with a holiday gathering is wonderful!!   So pack the gifts and head to celebrate.  Please have a good and safe holiday season.

About Dori Fritzinger

I live and work with my multi-generational family in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. We have a farm of cows and calves, wool sheep, dairy goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, honey bees, a horse and a donkey. We have a goat's milk soap and bath products line available on our farm web site. I enjoy reading, quilting and doing embroidery.