Holiday festivities often involve sharing a big meal. However, if the meal lasts a long time and the food is left out at room temperature, there is a greater risk of food poisoning, as the bacteria that cause this type of reaction multiply rapidly under the right conditions. The following are a few tips for avoiding that your festive gatherings be ruined by food poisoning.
Firstly, it’s important to know that unlike the bacteria that cause foods to eventually go bad, those that cause food poisoning are not usually associated with specific tastes or odours. The only way to prevent them is through strict hygiene.
- Be very thorough when it comes to hygiene. Always wash your hands before cooking and keep your tools and dishes very clean.
- When preparing a meal, never place cooked meat on a plate or cutting board that you used for raw meat.
- Cook meat properly. Poultry should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 85°C as measured with a food thermometer. Ground meat should reach at least 71°C, while cuts of beef, veal, pork or lamb should be cooked to 63°C.
- Once the foods are ready, keep them in the oven at a temperature between 95 and 120°C, or put them in the refrigerator if the wait is too long until the meal.
- When serving food, use small serving dishes. Do not add foods to an empty or half-full serving dish, but rather use a clean dish in order to avoid contamination.
- Hot foods must remain hot, and the cold foods be kept as cool as possible. Use hot plates, ice trays and bowls of ice to keep foods at the right temperature.
- Foods must never be kept at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Cool foods promptly. When the meal is over, make sure leftovers are cooled rapidly in order to prevent bacteria from proliferating. This can be done by choosing shallow containers that will let the cold penetrate more quickly.
- When reheating leftovers, make sure the foods reach a minimum internal temperature of 73°C.
By being mindful of foods during a meal, you greatly reduce the risk of unfortunate incidents.