This post was originally published on November 18, 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
You know it’s fall when the smell of roasted turkey, stuffing and all things pumpkin fill the air. Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of many; however, heightened safety risks associated with the feast can foil your plans. Follow these three tips to keep your loved ones safe this Thanksgiving.
1. Understand Food Prep Safety
When a meal is the center of the festivity, you better be sure it’s prepared safely. Foodborne pathogens are a risk during the holiday. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loose stool and fever.
An unclean or cluttered kitchen, coupled with improper sanitary food prep standards, can put you and your family at risk.
To maintain food prep best practices:
- Thaw poultry in the refrigerator. When poultry is stored in warm places, such as out on the counter, foodborne bacteria can multiply quickly.
- Thoroughly wash hands, cooking instruments and surfaces that come into contact with raw meat.
- Heat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Contain contamination. Use separate cutting boards for meat versus non-meat food items.
- Use or freeze leftovers within three to four days.
Prevent Kitchen Fires
Putting together a Thanksgiving meal can be tricky. You’re preparing so many foods that it can be easy to lose track and let something cook too long, which is a fire risk. The below pointers can help:
- Write out a cooking schedule. Include what time you will put each dish on the stove or in the oven.
- Label timers — either with built-in technology functionality or a post-it note. This will help you keep track of what timer correlates with which dish.
- Do not leave your kitchen unattended while food cooks. An unattended stove or oven is a recipe for disaster.
- Follow cooking safety protocols. Deep fried turkey has become a popular tradition for many families. Be sure you have the right equipment, attire and safety precautions in place for this or any unique cooking method.
3. Keep Kids Safe
If your kids have a tendency to wander around the kitchen, take extra precaution to ensure their safety.
- Turn pot and pan handles toward the back of stove, so that nothing is accidentally reached for or pulled down.
- Ensure kids are always supervised by an adult in the kitchen.
- If helping cook, teach children proper kitchen hygiene — i.e. to sneeze or cough away from food, to wipe hands on a paper towel instead of a dishtowel, and to wash hands between each task.
As you’re prepping your Thanksgiving feast, rest assured your family and home are protected with the right security solutions. A Vector Security consultant is ready to share more information with you today.