Holiday Food Preparation, Cooking & Storage Safety

Avoid making your family and guests sick during this holiday season, learn about food prep

  • Estimates reveal that nearly 48 million or 1 in 6 people get a foodborne illness each year in the US
  • Of those, 128,000 will be hospitalized because of the severity of the illness and 3,000 will die

The holidays bring large gatherings together which also brings large amounts of food and foods not normally served at other times of the year such as large poultry and other game.


For more information on food safety during the holidays, please visit the CDC’s  Food Safety Tips for the Holidays website.

What food safety measures should I follow?




  • In a refrigerator with a temperature between 41°F or less – usually takes 3-4 days
  • Under cool running water at a temperature of 75°F or less
  • In a microwave oven so long as it will be immediately followed by conventional oven cooking
  • In the conventional oven, where the thawing-cooking process is uninterrupted
  • Wash your hands regularly and avoid cross-contaminating surfaces, tools, and other foods
  • After preparing your turkey, sanitize the preparation surfaces, tools, and cutting implements prior to preparing other foods (Poultry can carry salmonella that is easily transferred to hands, countertops, cutting boards, etc.)
  • Turkey should be a minimum of 165°F at the thickest part of the turkey breast before serving. (A metal stemmed dial thermometer is usually best for temperature accuracy)
  • Cool your turkey quickly
  • The turkey should not be lower than 140°F for more than 4 hours to prevent bacterial growth before refrigerating (Placing a turkey on the bone in the refrigerator after cooking or sliced in large pans does not provide adequate cooling and may promote bacterial growth)
  • Meat should be sliced and placed in shallow pans to allow for adequate cooling
  • Store meat separately from other foods such as dressing and vegetables, never combine meat in the same container with other foods


Heat all your leftovers to at least 165°F in individual portions when ready to eat again.


By following these simple tips you can ensure your food is safe and you and your guests will enjoy a happy and fulfilling gathering!