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With Thanksgiving past and the holidays upon is in only days, Holiday Food Safety is a big concern. In fact, this year has seen numerous food recalls and concerns from salmonella outbreaks involving cantaloupe and peanuts to mad cow disease in dairy cow.

While current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food inspections fail to detect a good majority of pathogens, there is hope that the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the largest overhaul of food regulations in decades, will help these concerns.

To that end, the Huffington Post has an article today titled, “The Biggest Food Safety Disasters of 2012,” which is interesting and more so disturbing. A few foods that made the list are: Bagged Baby Spinach, Publix cakes, chop meat and Frosted Mini-Wheats. Take the time to educate yourself on this year’s biggest food safety concerns so that you know what food items are prone to recalls. It's also a good time to educate yourself on cooking safety so that you can do your part to eliminate illness and contamination.

The FDA has created a video that highlights food safety preparation.

Clean – the first and most important safety rule of food preparation is keeping everything clean – from hands to surfaces to the food itself.

Separate – stop the spread of bacteria from one food item to another by keeping all food groups separate.

Cook – be aware of the necessary internal temperatures of the foods you are cooking. And also be aware of eating uncooked items, such as cookie dough, that may contain raw eggs that should not be ingested due to bacteria risk.

Chill – foods should be stored rather quickly to halt the growth of any bacteria, typically within 2 hours.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but it highlights some of the main food safety concerns for holiday cooking and cooking in general.

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