Trees are decked out in their finest décor, smiles are on the faces of (most) people you meet and foodborne illness and cross-contamination lurk on the corner of a cutting board near you. Here are a few tips to help your tummy navigate through this season of eating:

Courtesy of the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education, here are the top 10 things I learned about preparing food this holiday season (add yours in a comment below for all of us to read!):

  1. Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds before and after you handle food.
  2. With shellfish, always discard any that do not open when cooked.
  3. Wash fruits and vegetables before serving – even items with hard outer rinds (like squash or melons). This is because bacteria on the outer surface can be transferred inside when cut or peeled.
  4. To stop your grapes from getting moldy, keep them in a bag with holes in it and don’t wash until they’re to be eaten (as the mold grows from moisture).
  5. To help prevent cross-contamination, always use one cutting board just for raw meat and one for veggies. Cut your veggies first, meat last.
  6. Cooked turkey keeps for three to four days refrigerated. This applies to the carcass, too, in case you’re thinking about making soup.
  7. If you defrost meat in a microwave, you must cook them immediately (as microwaving may cause uneven thawing and warm spots, leading to bacteria growth).
  8. Canned foods are already cooked, but should be brought to a boil before serving (either on the stove or in your microwave).
  9. You cannot save or reuse marinades used for raw poultry, meat or fish. Discard it or bring it to a boil for one minute before using it for basting or dipping.
  10. Different foods have different cooking temperatures. Click here to read more.

Happy eating and happy holidays!