OTTAWA, Dec. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - Food is an important part of many holiday
celebrations. However, many of the foods found at holiday parties, such
as baked goods, eggnog, cider, seafood and turkey, can carry viruses,
bacteria or parasites that could cause foodborne illness ("food
poisoning"). Health Canada would like to remind all Canadians of some
basic steps they can take to help reduce the risk of foodborne illness
during the holiday season.
Baked goods: Holiday cookies and squares are a special treat, but uncooked cookie
dough, batters or frostings made with raw eggs can contain Salmonella bacteria. Always make sure your baked goods are cooked thoroughly and
never lick the spoon or eat raw cookie dough when baking with eggs.
Eggnog: Store-bought eggnog is pasteurized to remove any dangerous bacteria. If
you're making eggnog at home using raw eggs, be sure to heat the egg
and milk mixture to at least 71° C (160° F). Immediately after heating,
refrigerate the eggnog in small, shallow containers to allow it to cool
quickly. Or, use pasteurized egg and milk ingredients, which are
available at many grocery stores.
Fruit juice and cider: When making punch or serving cider, check the product label to make
sure the juice or cider has been pasteurized. Unpasteurized juice may
contain bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella that may cause serious illness, especially in children, the elderly and
people with weakened immune systems. If it has not been pasteurized,
you can make it safer by boiling the product before serving.
Oysters and seafood: Some people enjoy eating raw seafood, such as oysters and sushi, during
their holiday festivities. However, raw or undercooked fish and seafood
may contain bacteria, parasites or viruses, so special care is needed
in their preparation and handling. Keep seafood like raw oysters or
cold cooked shrimp rings refrigerated and serve them on ice to ensure
they remain cold at holiday buffets. People who are more vulnerable to
the risks of foodborne illness, such as older adults, pregnant women,
young children and people with weakened immune systems, should avoid
eating raw or undercooked fish and seafood.
Holiday Buffets: If you are serving food buffet-style, use warming trays, chafing dishes
or crock pots to keep hot foods hot, and put serving trays on crushed
ice to keep cold foods cold. Don't let food remain at room temperature
for more than two hours or add new food to serving dishes already in
use. Instead, use a clean platter or serving dish each time you
re-stock the buffet.
Turkey and stuffing: If cooking a turkey for a holiday meal, use a digital food thermometer
to make sure it is cooked properly. The temperature of the thickest
part of the breast or thigh should be at least 85° C (185° F). To
prevent potential cross-contamination, cook stuffing separately in its
own oven dish or on the stove top. If you do stuff your turkey, stuff
loosely just prior to roasting, and remove all stuffing immediately
after cooking. Cook stuffing to a minimum internal temperature of 74° C
(165° F), and refrigerate within two hours of cooking.
It's estimated that there are approximately 11 million cases of
food-related illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these illnesses
could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation
For more safety information during the holidays, please visit:
Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education
SOURCE: Health Canada
For further information:
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