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Holiday Food Prep Tips from the Livingston Health Department

The Livingston Health Department offers advice to stay safe while preparing food for the holidays.

With the start of the holiday season, families across New Jersey are planning their holiday meal.

Choose appetizers and salads that help get in your "five a day" fruits and vegetables helpings. Use low fat and low sodium items in your preparations.

CLEAN: Always wash your hands in hot, soapy water before preparing food. Wash all fruits, vegetables and poultry well.

SEPARATE: Do not cross contaminate foods! Place your raw poultry, meat and seafood on a separate shelf of the refrigerator or on a tray, so juices do not drip onto other foods.

IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: To prevent cross contamination, never place cooked foods on any unwashed plates or platters that held raw poultry, meat, or seafood Remember: Wash hands after handling raw foods.

COOK: Clean the turkey or other birds as directed on package/wrapping. Follow cooking directions carefully. When cooking poultry, it must be cooked internally to at least 165 degrees Farenheit. Try stuffing with whole grain breads or wild or brown rice with fruits or nuts added for healthy eating.

CHILL: Frozen turkeys should be thawed in the refrigerator. Keep cold foods cold (held at 40 degrees or colder). If foods are not properly stored, bacteria can multiply rapidly. Important: Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly.

DRINK: Sparkling juices, cider, flavored waters are good alternatives to calorie laden drinks. Alcohol should always be a concern around all holidays, when younger children in the home or visiting youngsters have greater access to parties where cocktails, wine and beer may be served. Remember to empty all glasses and/or cans that contain alcohol as promptly as possible and don’t leave alcoholic drinks unattended by adults.

For more information, contact the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System at www.njpies.org.

Or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline at

1-800-535-4555 or visit the Food Safety Education website at



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