With home kitchens especially busy this time of year, Fairfax County provides these food safety preparation tips not only for the holiday season, but also year-round.
- Thoroughly wash your hands and the exposed portions of your arms with soap and water before handling food, and as often as necessary to keep them clean.
- Limit bare hand contact with foods that do not require washing, cooking or additional preparation before they are eaten. Use tongs, deli papers or other utensils during preparation.
- Do not handle or prepare foods if you have any symptoms of cold, flu, vomiting, diarrhea or jaundice.
- Do not handle or prepare foods if you have open sores on your hands.
- Avoid eating, drinking, using tobacco products and handling pets while preparing foods.
- Refrigerate or freeze groceries within two hours of purchase.
- Use food thermometers to monitor food temperatures.
- Thaw foods by refrigeration at 41°F or less, under cool running water, or in the microwave if for immediate cooking.
- Cook all vegetables to 135°F and other foods to 165°F.
- Cool foods from 135°F to 41°F or less within six hours. It is critical within the first two hours of the cooling process to cool foods from 135°F to 70°F. Regularly check your refrigerator to make sure the temperature is maintained at 41° F or below.
- Make sure that no more than four hours pass between the time food is taken from the oven or refrigerator and the time cooked foods are eaten.
If you have any questions regarding the safety of home cooked foods, please call the Food Safety Section of the Fairfax County Health Department at 703-246-2444, TTY 711