CIRCLEVILLE — Pickaway County Public Health is offering tips and resources to the public to make sure their food stays safe to eat this holiday season.

In partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service, Pickaway County Public Health is wanting to make sure the public doesn’t get sick this holiday season due to improperly handled food procedures.

“Handling poultry (chicken and turkey) incorrectly and undercooking it are the most common problems that lead to food borne disease outbreaks, so we encourage you to practice good food safety habits,” Nasandra Wright, Health Commissioner, said.

Pickaway County Public Health offered five tips from the USDA to the public, those included washing your hands when handling foods, prevent cross-contamination, cooking to proper temperatures, not leaving food out and to ask questions of health professionals.

“With large meals come food safety risks, so when I prepare my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, I keep food safety in the forefront,” Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, said. “Washing hands properly, keeping the raw turkey away from other ingredients, cooking turkey to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees, and promptly refrigerating all of our leftovers within two hours after mealtime are all ways we keep our meal safe.”

Wright said that when it comes to food safety, when in doubt throw it out and to avoid that by storing and keeping foods at proper temperatures.

“It’s tempting to go back for seconds or even thirds, but perishable foods are only safe out on the table or buffet for two hours,” Wright commented. “After two hours, food will be in the danger zone, temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees, where bacteria can rapidly multiply and cause the food to become unsafe. Make sure all leftovers are placed in the refrigerator within two hours to safely enjoy them later. Put them in small, shallow containers. If foods have been left out for more than two hours, they should be discarded.”

For more information or tips on how to properly prepare food visit foodsafety.gov or contact the health department at 740-477-9667. The Health Department will be closed on Thanksgiving.

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