UNL Food Specialist Offers Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

Nov. 7, 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. — The holidays are here and that means lots of eating. It is important to remember food safety when preparing and serving holiday meals, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln food specialist said.

Julie Albrecht, a food specialist in the UNL's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that the risk for food poisoning is higher during the holidays because many people make the mistake of leaving food out of the refrigerator for too long.

Perishable food should not be left out of refrigeration for more than two hours. The refrigerator should be at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Use a refrigerator thermometer to check the temperature.

"You can cool things by setting them on ice," Albrecht said.

One tip is to remove the lid of party trays and fill it with ice, then set the tray on top.

Food should be served on several small platters instead of one large one and should be refrigerated until it is time to serve.

Albrecht said when it comes to cooling large items, such as a turkey, it works well to cut it into smaller pieces.

"Don't put the whole carcass in the fridge hot," Albrecht said.

Leftovers should be eaten within three to four days. Solid leftovers should be reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and liquids should be brought to a boil.

All hot food should be kept at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or more to prevent bacteria from growing in food.

Julie Albrecht, Ph.D.
Nutrition And Health Sciences

Heather Haskins
Student Writer

Sandi Alswager Karstens
IANR News Service