Keeping holiday goodies safe

This season of goodwill and giving thanks is also a festive celebration of food. Make this holiday feasting season a healthy one by keeping foods safe.

Delicious delights

During the holidays, there are lots of delicious foods to choose from. Some of these foods may contain raw or lightly-cooked eggs. Bacteria might be inside some raw eggs, but you can safely enjoy these foods by simply cooking raw eggs and egg-containing foods thoroughly.

Treat yourself to freshly-baked treats, but avoid taste testing raw cookie dough, cake batter or pie filling if they contain raw eggs.

If any of your holiday recipes call for raw or lightly-cooked eggs, you can:

  • Make recipes that call for raw eggs safer by adding the eggs to the amount of liquid called for in the recipe, then heating the mixture thoroughly.
  • Purchase pasteurized eggs. These eggs are heat-processed to kill harmful bacteria. They can be found in some supermarkets and are labeled “pasteurized.” Here are several types consumers can buy:
    • Fresh, pasteurized eggs in the shell (found in the refrigerator section)
    • Liquid, pasteurized egg products (found in the refrigerator section)
    • Frozen, pasteurized egg products (found in the frozen food section)
    • Powdered egg whites (found in the baking section)

‘Tis the season to chill!

Bacteria can multiply quickly in moist desserts that contain dairy products. Cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from multiplying, so keep these foods refrigerated:

  • Cream pies, cakes with whipped-cream and cream cheese frostings, and other creamy desserts
  • Cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, seafood or dairy
  • Quiches and souffles, especially if you aren’t serving them immediately

Reheat them to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving. Use a food thermometer to check.

The joy of giving and receiving food safely

How can you be sure that food arrives safely during holiday shipping? The key is careful planning. Here are tips when mailing perishable food gifts:

  • Make sure the food is frozen solid or refrigerator cold.
  • Use an insulated cooler or a heavy corrugated box packed with a frozen gel-pack or purchase dry ice for keeping food cold.
  • Alert the recipient ahead of time and set a mutually-agreeable delivery date.
  • Properly label the package on the outside, “Perishable – Keep Refrigerated.” Provide a complete mailing address and phone number to ensure proper delivery.
  • Ship your package by overnight delivery.

When you send food via a mail-order company, be sure to specify overnight delivery and request that the company supply a frozen gel-pack or dry ice in the packaging. This will help ensure that the food will arrive at your destination firm and refrigerator cold.

Here are tips if you receive perishable food gifts:

  • Open the package upon arrival.
  • Make sure the food is still refrigerator cold.
  • Immediately refrigerate or freeze the food.
  • If perishable food doesn’t arrive cold, don’t eat it and notify the shipper immediately.

Note: Remember, it’s the shipper’s responsibility to deliver perishable foods on time, but it’s the customer’s responsibility to have someone at home to receive the package.