A Safe Holiday Feast

About one in six Americans is expected to contract a foodborne illness each year. That statistic highlights the importance of food safety. To ensure that our readers have a safe holiday feast, Texas Tech’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety has put together these simple rules for the festive season.


  • Make sure there is room for your feast in the fridge and freezer.
  • Keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat and poultry and keep all food away from household chemicals in your shopping cart and in bags.
  • Refrigerate perishable foods as soon as you get them home from the store.
  • Always pay attention to “sell by” and “use by” dates.

Preparing your Feastholidays

  • Wash hands, surfaces and utensils between each food prep step.
  • Thaw formula for your turkey:  four pounds per 24 hours.  Thaw frozen turkey in a refrigerator in its original packaging.  Stuff turkey just prior to cooking.
  • Cook turkey breast and stuffing to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Temperature is the only indicator that food is cooked for quality and safety. Turkey thighs are best at 175 F.
  • Keep hot foods above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  Refrigerate all cold foods at 40 degrees Fahrenheit until ready to serve.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables just before using or consuming, unless labeled “ready-to-eat” or “prewashed.”

Eating your LeftoversThanksgiving Turkey [327/366]

Leftovers cool more quickly in shallow containers.  Bring gravy to a boil before reserving.

  • Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees F.
  • Eat or freeze leftovers within three to four days.
  • Eat or freeze gravy within two days.

Texas Tech’s EH&S hopes that everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday season! Please send any questions or feedback to safety@ttu.edu.

This information is not exhaustive and should not be construed as containing all the necessary compliance, safety, or warning information available. Please make sure you consult with EH&S or appropriate supervisors for all safety information and procedures.

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