Holiday Food Safety


Many of us will be hosting parties this season — an important time to keep food safety on your mind.

Follow these food safety tips to lower your chance of food poisoning:

  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Perishable foods should not be left out for more than two hours and even so, cold perishables should be kept in serving dishes over ice.
  • When foods have reached their time limit, refrigerate them or toss them out.
  • Hot sides and grilled meats should be kept at a temperature of 140°F or warmer until they are served.


Watch video Fairfax County Environmental Health Director Pieter Sheehan gives tips for holiday food safety.

Four Easy Steps to Food Safety

  1. Clean: Wash hands and utensils to avoid spreading bacteria when preparing food.
  2. Separate: Use different cutting boards for meat, poultry, seafood and veggies.
  3. Cook: You cannot tell it is done by how it looks! Use a food thermometer to make sure meats reach the proper temperature — 165°F for turkey and chicken, for example.
  4. Chill: Keep the fridge at 40°F or below to keep bacteria from growing.

More Information


Watch video Don't invite harmful bacteria to your holiday festivities.


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