Food

Holiday food safety

Canadian Living
Food

Holiday food safety

Protect your guests from food-related bacteria and parasites The last thing any holiday reveller wants is to come down with a bout of food poisoning in the middle of Christmas or New Year's festivities. So it's important to take precautions to ensure every bite and sip you take is free of any health risks (think bacteria or parasites). What hidden health concerns are lurking in your holiday fare? Read on for tips to make your holiday a healthy and happy one. Beverages The iconic beverage of Christmas, eggnog can be a concern. While store-bought eggnog is pasteurized, homemade versions can contain harmful bacteria. While you can buy pasteurized egg and milk ingredients at many grocery stores, heating the egg and milk mixture to at least 71ºF (161ºC) will kill any unwanted organisms. The next step is cooling the eggnog quickly. Similarly, unpasteurized cider can contain bacteria like E. coli or salmonella. Check the label and always boil any unpasteurized ciders before serving. Appetizers Oysters and seafood can commonly be found on holiday party buffet tables. Raw oysters and sushi or undercooked fish and other seafood can put partiers at risk of ingesting bacteria, parasites or viruses. Keep these foods refrigerated, and when they're served, do so on a bed of ice. And never, ever re-plate. Always use a clean tray when restocking the buffet table. Meals If serving turkey at your Christmas Day dinner, it's important to make sure the bird is fully cooked. Use a digital thermometer that, when inserted into thickest part of the thigh, registers 180ºF (82ºC) for a stuffed turkey or 170ºF (77ºC) for an unstuffed turkey. Not sure you've mastered your technique? Consult our guide to turkey cooking here. Desserts Overloading on sugar isn't the only way that desserts can leave you feeling unwell at Christmas. Many holiday sweets contain raw eggs (a source for salmonella) in the dough or icing, so always cook baked goods thoroughly and refrain from licking the bowl clean of batter remnants. Photography by John Cullen. With files from Health Canada
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Holiday food safety

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