Here are the USDA’s Guidelines for Not Giving Your Loved Ones Food Poisoning this Holiday Season

“Clean, separate, cook and chill to avoid ruining Christmas with a case of foodborne illness”

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, it’s time to buy one, or several. 

Whether you’re the go-to head of holidays in your family, or you’ve been tasked with contributing to the spread for the first time this year, now’s a good time to brush up on your foodborne illness-avoidance skills.

Thanks to a simple list of guidelines from the USDA (and the option of a live chat with a food safety specialist), you may yet avoid the stomach bug to end all stomach bugs.

Hopefully many, if not all, of these guidelines are things you already know, like making sure that raw meat, seafood and poultry are stored and bagged separately from your other groceries; and using a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of your dishes.

But perhaps you didn’t know — and don’t feel badly if you didn’t — that all cuts of pork, beef, veal, and lamb need a three minute rest before cutting or consuming, or that perishable food should be discarded if they’ve been left out for two hours or longer.


In any case, check out the USDA’s “tips to keep your holiday illness free,” and when in doubt, remember to: clean, separate, cook, and chill.