Opinion

Rigler: How to keep foodborne illness from spoiling holidays

Posted 11/29/21

The holiday season that begins on Thanksgiving and continues through New Year’s means many things to many people. One thing it means to most of us is food. Meals and appetizers with family and friends help make the holiday season special. But there can be a downside to all that delicious food.

To Our Valued Readers –

Visitors to our website will be limited to five stories per month unless they opt to subscribe. The five stories do not include our exclusive content written by our journalists.

For $5.99, less than 20 cents a day, digital subscribers will receive unlimited access to YourValley.net, including exclusive content from our newsroom and access to our Daily Independent e-edition.

Our commitment to balanced, fair reporting and local coverage provides insight and perspective not found anywhere else.

Your financial commitment will help to preserve the kind of honest journalism produced by our reporters and editors. We trust you agree that independent journalism is an essential component of our democracy. Please click here to subscribe.

Sincerely,
Charlene Bisson, Publisher, Independent Newsmedia

Please log in to continue

Log in
I am anchor
Opinion

Rigler: How to keep foodborne illness from spoiling holidays

Posted

The holiday season that begins on Thanksgiving and continues through New Year’s means many things to many people. One thing it means to most of us is food.

Meals and appetizers with family and friends help make the holiday season special. But there can be a downside to all that delicious food.

If it isn’t prepared, cooked and stored properly, it can leave everyone with foodborne illness.

Even though the American food supply is among the safest in the world, an estimated 128,000 people each year require a hospital stay because of foodborne illness, resulting in about 3,000 deaths. Overall there are about 48 million cases of food poisoning in the U.S. each year, affecting one in six Americans.

Here are some simple steps to protect yourself and others:

  • Start with clean hands and clean equipment.
  • Clean your produce before cooking to remove potential contaminants.
  • Separate foods to prevent cross-contamination. Don’t use the same utensils or cutting boards for uncooked chicken and other food items like vegetables you will eat raw, for example.
  • Cook your turkey to 165 degrees. A food thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast and innermost part of the thigh and wing will help you know that meat is cooked thoroughly.
  • Chill the leftovers within 2 hours to prevent bacteria from gaining a foothold.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling raw meat and poultry.

Those most likely to have the serious health concerns from foodborne illness, sometimes called food poisoning, are those younger than 5 or older than 65, as well as pregnant women and those with immune systems weakened by disease, chemotherapy, or dialysis.

Most foodborne illnesses happen suddenly and last for a short time. Symptoms may include cramping, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

We have more food safety tips on our website. And please keep COVID-19 safety in mind as well as you plan holiday gatherings, starting with getting vaccinated and getting a booster dose if you are eligible.

Editor’s note: Jessica Rigler is assistant director overseeing the Division of Public Health Preparedness at the Arizona Department of Health Services. Visit azdhs.gov.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here