Austin, Texas – The holiday season is upon us with potlucks, parties and pumpkin pie.
Every year about 48 million people become sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 people die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Texas, about 17,000 people get sick from foodborne illnesses annually. Thanksgiving typically marks the beginning of holiday festivities, a crucial time to remember food safety.
“Holidays are best spent with friends and family,” said Don Hastings, assistant director of the Environmental Health Services Division. “Please take the extra time to ensure your holiday feast is safely prepared and stored to avoid a trip to the hospital.”
Use these food handling guidelines from APH experts:
- Wash your hands often including before, during and after preparing food, after touching raw meat, raw eggs, or unwashed veggies and before eating or drinking
- Cook food thoroughly and use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature (i.e. 165 degrees for poultry, 145 degrees for fresh fish, pork and beef)
- Keep hot food hot at 135 degrees or above and cold food cold at 41 degrees or below, and refrigerate any perishable food within two hours
- Reheat leftover food to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, regardless of the type of food
- Do not eat dough or batter made with flour or eggs
- Keep meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from all other foods
- Defrost your turkey in the fridge or under cool running water
The Environmental Health Services Division (EHSD) of Austin Public Health promotes public health and safety to ensure safe consumer food practices. In 2018, EHSD completed 9,444 routine food establishment inspections and conducted 85 foodborne illness investigations in conjunction with our Epidemiology Unit.
For more information, visit AustinTexas.gov/Department/Environmental-Health-Services.