Get Healthy Carson City: Winter holiday food safety |

Get Healthy Carson City: Winter holiday food safety

Robert Elliott
Environmental Health Specialist for Carson City Health and Human Services

As the end of the year approaches, it’s likely there are multiple meals and parties in your future. Carrying food from one location to another and sharing dishes with a crowd means more opportunity for bacteria to grow and cause food poisoning. Whether you’re an experienced cook, a first-time party host, or simply adding a dish to the potluck lineup, the holidays can make even the most confident chefs nervous. Follow these steps to keep your holiday season food poison-free.

Steps to follow during holiday grocery shopping:

Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood away from other foods in your grocery cart.

Buy cold foods last.

Ask the cashier to place your raw meat, poultry and seafood in a separate bag.

Steps to follow during food preparation:

Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat items like vegetables or bread.

Prepare uncooked recipes before recipes requiring raw meat to reduce cross-contamination. Store them out of the way while preparing meat dishes to ensure they don’t become contaminated after preparation.

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of dishes to ensure they’re fully cooked and safe to eat. Fresh beef, pork, veal, and lamb should be cooked to 145 Fahrenheit with a three minute rest time; fish should be cooked to 145 Fahrenheit; ground beef, veal and lamb should be cooked to 160 Fahrenheit; egg dishes should be cooked to 160 Fahrenheit; and all poultry should be cooked to 165 Fahrenheit.

Fool proof tips when cooking for groups:

Keep hot food hot and cold food cold, using chafing dishes or crock pots and ice trays. Hot items should remain above 140 Fahrenheit and cold items should remain below 40 Fahrenheit.

Use several small plates when serving food.

Discard perishable foods left out for 2 hours or more.

Steps to follow when cooking a holiday roast:

Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils for raw roasts and cooked roasts to avoid cross-contamination.

Wash items such as cutting boards that have touched raw meat with warm water and soap, or place them in a dishwasher.

To ensure the juiciest possible roast this holiday, use a meat thermometer. Once it has reached the USDA recommended internal temperature of 145 Fahrenheit, the roast is safe to eat.

Remember all cuts of pork, beef, veal, and lamb need a three minute rest time before cutting or consuming.

Carson City Health and Human Services wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday. For information on Health and Human Services, check out our website at or visit us at