EatInEatOut Holiday 2015 - Page 18

See how your food safety smarts stack up with this quick quiz: 1) It’s okay to thaw turkey or a roast on the counter. [False] Thawing food at room temperature allows bacteria to multiply quickly, so you’re more likely to get food poisoning. Defrost food in the fridge or submerged in cold water (change the water every 30 minutes) and cook it right away. 2) Turkey is done when the juices run clear. [False] Use a digital food thermometer to tell if your food is cooked properly. A whole turkey should reach 180°F when the thermometer is placed in the thickest part. Wash your thermometer in warm, soapy water in between readings to keep bacteria at bay. The same goes for any utensils that are used on raw or partially cooked foods. If you choose to stuff your turkey, stuff it loosely just before roasting, and remove all stuffing right after cooking. Stuffing cooked inside the turkey needs to reach 165°F. Better yet, cook stuffing separately in the oven or on the stove top. 3) Eating raw cookie dough is no big deal. [False] Raw eggs might contain salmonella bacteria, so take a pass on uncooked cookie dough, batters or frostings made with raw fresh eggs. This is especially important for young children who have a weaker immune system. 4) Use pasteurized products when making eggnog or a cider-based drink. [True] Store-bought eggnog is pasteurized, but if you’re making your own, use pasteurized egg and milk ingredients or heat your mixture to at least 160°F. Fresh juices and cider should be pasteurized to kill off any bacteria. Check the label to be sure. 5) Fruits and vegetables need to be rinsed. [True] Brush up on better habits when it comes to prepping fruits and vegetables. Cutting unwashed produce can 18 WWW.EATINEATOUT.CA spread bacteria from the peel to the flesh inside, so be sure to rinse fruits and vegetables under cool, running water before eating or cooking. Use a vegetable brush to scrub those with a firm skin or rind, such as carrots, potatoes, melons and squash. 6) When taking food to a party, keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. [True] Transport hot food in insulated containers with hot packs or wrapped in foil and heavy towels. Put cold food in a cooler with ice or freezer packs. 7) Serving food buffet-style is easy because you can top up food throughout the event. [False] Resist the temptation to add new food to serving dishes that are already in use. The inconsistent temperature between old and new food could create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Instead, use a clean platter or serving dish each time you re-stock the buffet. Use warming trays, chafing dishes or crock pots to keep hot foods hot. Keep cold foods cold by putting serving trays on crushed ice. Have serving spoons and tongs for every dish served. Even finger foods like cut vegetables and nuts should have utensils to cut down on contamination. 8) Refrigerate leftovers within two hours. [True] Place leftovers in shallow containers and put them in the fridge within two hours. Food left out more than two hours? Throw it out. Levels of bacteria in your food can become high, making it unsafe to eat. 9) You can tell if a food is safe to eat by smelling it. [False] You can’t tell if a food is spoiled by its smell or taste. When in doubt, throw it out. 10) The best part of having holiday leftovers is to eat them cold from the fridge. Reheat leftovers to at least 165°F. Bring gravy to a full, rolling boil and stir a few times while reheating.