During the holidays, we look forward to breaking bread with congregation members and those in need. While usually joyous events, holiday gatherings at religious organizations have sent diners to the hospital due to improper food preparation.

Below are tips to help keep your holiday food events both happy and healthy.

Start clean

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Clean work and preparation surfaces
  • Rinse produce thoroughly

Separate food

  • Store raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from other foods
  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and another for raw meat, poultry and seafood
  • If accommodating diners with food allergies, also separate those ingredients and label properly

Cook thoroughly

  • Color is not a reliable indicator of food safety
  • Safe doneness temperatures vary by food type; always check with a food thermometer
  • If reheating, make sure there are no cold spots

Safely store leftovers

  • Keep refrigerators at 40 degrees or below
  • Refrigerate food within two hours
  • Thaw foods in a refrigerator when possible; thaw in cold water or microwave if food will be cooked immediately

Church Mutual Insurance Company is committed to helping you protect the greater good. That’s why, as the holidays draw near, we’d like to share our essential list of food safety tips, including specific instructions for purchasing, preparing and storing food. You can find this free resource at churchmutual.com.

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