Health officials offer food safety tips during holiday season

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Health officials are offering up some tips on how to stay healthy this holiday season.

Whether enjoying a pot-luck spread at work or a fancy feast at home, the rules of food safety are the same, health officials said.

“If foods are sitting out or left out that should be under temperature control, there’s an opportunity for contamination by the way of bacteria growth,” Metro Health Inspector Danny Ripley said.

Ripley added that it’s important to keep cold foods cold.

“Bacteria needs certain temperatures like room temperature to start growing and that temp danger zone that we constantly refer to is a range between 41 and 135,” he explained.

Ripley also said meats are especially sensitive.

“We’ve got some with ham and turkey and beef. We’ve got seafood; we got pasta and ground beef as well. All of these foods are temperature sensitive, meaning bacteria might be growing on these foods as well,” he said.

The health inspector said he also encourages the use of disposable plates and cups to cut down on washing, cleaning and sanitizing.

He said he also advises people to get a clean plate if they go back for extra servings.

“We would encourage them to get a clean plate for going back because they can increase the chance, even with tongs or utensils, of contaminating other people’s food,” Ripley explained.

The most common food borne illness is the Noro-virus which can take 12 to 48 hours for symptoms to first appear.

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