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My true love sent to me… food poisoning!

Will you be able to sing the 12 days of Christmas without getting food poisoning this festive season? Follow these simple tips and hints and your celebrations will be a fun filled occasion.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

Twelve Plates of Leftovers

Immediately refrigerate and cool leftover food in long shallow pans, follow the Cooling Rule 21° in 2 hours, food can be put in the fridge and cooled to 5° or colder within the next 4 hours. It is estimated that around 30% of food poisoning case are caused by incorrect cooling procedures

Eleven Double Dippers

Don’t use the cooking spoon or your finger to sample the food while it is being prepared or served. Use a clean spoon each time you taste test. If you’re the one serving dips, there are a few things that you can do to reduce the risk of your guests getting sick:

  • Offer smaller chips that reduce the likelihood of double-dipping and the resulting spread of pathogens

  • Keep your dips refrigerated until just before they're served to guests

  • Throw out any dips that have been out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours

  • Put a spoon or knife next to each dip - you'll be surprised how many people use these utensils rather than dipping

  • Choose thicker dips, or those with a high salt or acidity content

Ten Dirty Fingers

Wash your hands before preparing any food for cooking, baking, or serving. Wash hands with soap and running warm water for 20 seconds or to the tune of “Jingle Bells” to ensure you remove all germs. Rinse your hand with clear water and use paper towel to dry them

Nine Potentially Hazardous Foods

Bacteria loves to grow in food made with dairy products, shell eggs, meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, cooked beans and lentils, rice or pasta. Keep these foods out of the temperature danger zone 5 Degrees Celsius to 60 Degrees Celsius.

Eight Unwashed Veggies

Wash all fresh vegetables and fruits under running tap water. You should also wash those with rinds and skin that are going to be consumed.

Seven Sick Assistants

If you are sick, you shouldn't be in the kitchen preparing food. You can sit it out and focus on getting well. Viruses cause more and more foodborne illnesses.

Six Contaminated Chopping Boards

Cross contamination is the transfer of micro-organisms from raw or contaminated food, equipment or people to cooked or prepared food. Coloured chopping boards assists to prevent cross contamination.

Five warm charcuterie boards

Listeria monocytogenes bacteria can multiply at refrigeration temperatures. It’s been found in soft cheeses like Brie, feta, Camembert, blue-veined cheese and in ready-to-eat cold cuts. Carefully observe “sell by” and “use by” dates on ready-to-eat foods. Make small platters of meat and cheese trays. Replace with fresh refrigerated platters when empty.

Four unsafe temperatures

Foods should not be at room temperature for more than 2 hours. This includes preparation time.

  • Keep hot foods hot (60 degrees Celsius). Keep foods hot with slow cookers, warming trays or Bain Maries

  • Keep cold foods cold (5 degrees Celsius colder) by nesting dishes in bowls of ice.

Three Harassed Cooks

Mistakes happen when people are busy and distracted trying to meet the needs of their guests. Develop a master plan of tasks that need to be done along with directions and assign tasks to ensure everyone knows what has to be completed and by when.

Two Dirty Dish Towels

One of the most important aspects of cooking and baking is doing so on properly sanitised surfaces. It’s best to air-dry dishes. Wet dish towels can harbor bacteria and spread it to clean dishes. Many times, dish towels end up on your shoulder or ‘dirty’ countertops.

And an Undercooked Stuffed Turkey

Got meat? Get a thermometer!

No matter how you slice it, using a food or meat thermometer is the only way to tell if food has reached a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria. Using a thermometer will keep you from overcooking food too.

  • Cook whole poultry, turkey and chicken to a minimum of 75 degrees Celsius.

  • Cook the stuffing and the turkey separately if possible. You can flavour the stuffing by using the poultry drippings. If you wish to serve the turkey with the stuffing inside the cavity, you can easily spoon the stuffing into it once the turkey has been cooked.


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