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Don’t Get Roasted by Foodborne Illnesses this Winter

Posted by Janice López-Muñoz, BS, MSIH, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA in Health and Safety
Dec 13, 2017
The Perfect Roast: Holiday Food Safety graphic
Holiday food safety to the perfect roast.

The holidays are all about sharing, having fun and, of course…food!!! I bet you will agree that a good holiday get-together always includes delicious traditional dishes or special recipes.

If you are hosting a holiday party this winter, you have probably already started thinking about treating your guests to a delectable menu. There are endless recipes and traditional holiday dishes that will reappear or make a debut at your dinner table; however, foodborne illnesses should not be part of the feast. While food is something to look forward to this season, foodborne illnesses is not.

If you decide that your side dishes will have the company of a delicious roast, such as turkey, ham or lamb, each of them need to be cooked properly to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. The only way to be sure that meat and poultry is safe to eat is by cooking it to the recommended internal temperature, measured by a food thermometer.

For help in the kitchen with approximate cooking times to use in meal planning, visit USDA’s Holiday Roasting Chart. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures. By following this chart, you can accomplish a safe and delicious holiday meal for all your guests.

Consumers with questions about food safety can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist in English or Spanish at, available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. AskKaren also provides food safety information 24/7.

Category/Topic: Health and Safety