COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Before you roast the turkey, dress the greens and set the table, make sure you're following all the necessary food preparation and storage precautions.
An estimated 48 million people in the United States get sick from foodborne illnesses every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sara Humm with Columbia Boone Public Health and Human Services reminds everyone to be aware of foodborne illnesses and what can be done to prevent them.
Before the cooking even starts, it's important to store raw meat or fish away from other foods.
It's also necessary to keep food at the right temperature. The CDC points out that bacteria grow best at temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. That's why Columbia/Boone Public Health says to "keep hot food hot and cold food cold." Use a thermometer to ensure your food is at the right temperature.
During big holiday meals, people tend to leave food out for seconds to thirds. However, Humm says food needs to be stored away after two hours.
"Usually, there's a timeframe of if it's been sitting out on the counter for two hours or four hours," Humm said. "It depends on what it is, then it needs to be in a fridge or thrown away."
With the holiday season just beginning, these tips can be used for every big meal.
"We have Thanksgiving and Hanukkah followed right after and then Christmas and Kwanzaa," Humm said. "So, that's a lot of holidays where people gather and get together and eat meals."