Keep Food Poisoning Off of Your Holiday Menu

Salmonella, E. coli, and listeria are some of the most common causes of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. and unfortunately, holidays often bring an uptick in emergency care visits because of these illnesses. Prevent foodborne illnesses from disrupting your holiday plans by taking some simple precautions this year. And if a loved one does require emergency care, Regional Medical Center of San Jose is always available to lend a hand.

Kitchen Cleanliness
Maintaining cleanliness in the kitchen can effectively curb the transfer of germs. Scrub kitchen surfaces and your hands before and after preparing food. Wash your hands again after handling raw eggs, meats, and similar foods. Beware of cross-contamination; use a plastic cutting board for all raw meats and a separate cutting board for vegetables. Avoid using any unwashed dishes, utensils, or other items after they were used for raw meat. Placing cooked meat on a platter that was used to hold raw meat will allow germs to contaminate the cooked meat.

Internal Temperature
Turkeys, roasts, and similar dishes are popular holiday meals, but make sure they are cooked to the proper internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. For large items, including whole turkeys, insert the thermometer into several of the thickest sections to ensure a uniform internal temperature. These are the recommended minimum internal temperatures for food expressed in degrees Fahrenheit:

  • All poultry: 165
  • Pork: 145
  • Lamb: 145
  • Beef roasts: 145
  • Ground meats: 160
  • Non-shell seafood: 145

Timely Refrigeration
Another important step in preventing foodborne illnesses this holiday season is to promptly refrigerate raw, perishable foods and cooked foods, especially meats and egg dishes. If you’re bringing a dish to a holiday gathering, place it in a cooler with plenty of ice and heat it up if necessary when you arrive at your destination. If you’re setting out a holiday buffet, keep warm dishes on hot plates or in slow cookers.

If a severe illness does affect your family this holiday season, you can count on the emergency care physicians at Regional Medical Center of San Jose. In addition to high-quality, responsive care for medical emergencies, our hospital is a leading provider of stroke care, heart health services, robotic surgery, and many other specialty services. To request a referral to a provider in San Jose, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (888) 762-8881.

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