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Safe eating this spring holiday season


Spring is a time of joy, marking the celebration of Easter, Eid, and Passover with special meals that bring families together. The USDA urges everyone to prioritize food safety during these occasions to avoid the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Begin with proper thawing of meats like ham, lamb, or brisket, choosing from refrigerator, cold water, or microwave methods to keep bacteria at bay. Cooking meat to the right temperatures is vital for safety, with the USDA recommending specific internal temperatures for various meats, including 145 F for most meats and fish, 160 F for eggs and ground meats, and 165 F for poultry and stuffing.

Keeping food out of the "Danger Zone" is critical. Any perishable food left out for over two hours should be discarded to prevent bacterial growth. Embrace good practices by storing leftovers properly, using shallow containers for quick cooling, and keeping them in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for longer storage, though quality may decline after three to four months.

The USDA stands ready to assist with any food preparation questions through their Meat and Poultry Hotline, available by phone or live chat. This service is part of the USDA's commitment to ensuring everyone can enjoy safe and delicious meals during the spring holidays.

Remember, safe food handling and storage are key to keeping your holiday celebrations joyous and free from unwanted guests like foodborne bacteria. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a healthy and happy gathering for everyone involved.

Celebrate the spring holidays with confidence by adhering to the USDA's food safety steps, ensuring your festivities are remembered for the good times and great food, not for foodborne illnesses.

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