Holiday table with text overlay: Food Safety Tips

[Wellness Wednesday] Food Safety Tips

Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday everyone! This is another ‘re-run’ of a post from last year, but since the holidays are fast approaching, I thought this might be a good time to review food safety practices.

Christmas Party Table - Let's Talk About Food Safety https://reclaiminghopewellness.comHere in the U.S. we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving in a few weeks, and people will be cooking (and eating) a lot. After that, we have Christmas, Hanukkah, the New Year celebration, and others, most of which include some type of meal or snacks. We definitely don’t want to give our guests a serving of food poisoning along with their meals, do we?

According to the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety website, there are four basic guidelines to keep food safe, whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just for your family:

  • Clean – Wash hands and surfaces often.
    • Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds (long enough to sing Happy Birthday twice) each time.
  • Separate – Don’t cross-contaminate.
    • Keep raw meat,  poultry, fish, and their juices away from other
    • After cutting raw meats, wash your hands,
      cutting board, knife, and counter tops with hot,
      soapy water.
    • Marinate meat and poultry in a covered dish in
      the refrigerator. If, like me, you use ZipLoc bags to marinate, place the closed bags in a container to prevent leaks. Also, put your raw meats or poultry on the bottom shelf to minimize contamination if something should leak out.
    • Sanitize your cutting boards by using a solution of 1
      teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water. I have separate cutting boards for meat and veggies, and they’re the one item I always wash in the dishwasher.
  • Cook – Cook to proper temperatures, checking with a food thermometer.
    • Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks,
      chops, and roasts to a minimum internal
      temperature of 145 °F (62.8 ºC) as measured
      with a food thermometer before removing meat
      from the heat source. For safety and quality,
      allow meat to rest for at least three minutes
      before carving or consuming. (This resting period not only keeps food safe, it will help meats stay juicy.)
    • Ground meat: Cook all raw ground beef, pork,
      lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of
      160 °F (71.1 ºC) as measured with a food
    • Poultry: Cook all poultry to an internal
      temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured
      with a food thermometer.
  • Chill – Refrigerate promptly.
    • Always refrigerate perishable food within 2
      hours–1 hour when the temperature is above
      90 °F (32.2 ºC).
    • Check the temperature of your refrigerator
      and freezer with an appliance thermometer.
      The refrigerator should be at 40 °F (4.4 ºC)
      or below and the freezer at 0 °F (-17.7 ºC) or
    • Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground
      meats, and variety meats within 2 days; other
      beef, veal, lamb, or pork, within 3 to 5 days.

For a quick, at-a-glance resource to help keep food safe, I found this handy-dandy cheat sheet on Holiday Food Safety at and thought I’d share it with you:

Image 11-7-18 at 7.31 AM

For more information on food safety, as well as cold storage charts that show how long you can keep foods in the fridge or freezer, check out the USDA Food Safety website at

Whether we’re cooking for the holidays or just doing our regular day-to-day cooking, learning and implementing good food safety practices helps us avoid food borne illnesses and contributes to our overall wellness.

What are some things you do to make sure your food is safe? Please share!



** All guidelines taken from


  1. You can never be too careful and I think it’s best to err on the side of caution if you’re not too sure about something. Food temps when cooking meat is something that often worries me, hence why I tend to overcook things! Great tips and very good timing with Thanksgiving for you all in the US and then Christmas too coming up. xx

    1. I agree that you can never be too careful Caz! That’s one thing I’m always concerned about when we entertain — doing everything I can to make sure our guests not only have a good time, but are safe from stomach distress. Most of us are already eating too much; we don’t want to add any nasty bugs to the mix. 😊 Thanks for your comment! Hugs!

    1. Thanks so much Mark! This is just something that’s always front of my mind, but especially during the holidays when we’re cooking more and feeding more people. Hope you’re doing well my friend. Blessings to you!

  2. I appreciate this post, Terri, especially the part that clarifies when to refrigerate leftovers. My husband always leaves food until it has totally cooled – drives me crazy. I remember when my sister was sick with cancer, the clinic told us to avoid too many leftovers, as contamination begins as food sits.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing V.J.! That two-hour rule is definitely helpful. I hadn’t heard the tip about not eating leftovers when undergoing cancer treatment. That’s good to know. Hope you’re having a good weekend. Blessings to you sweet friend!

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