Hi, I’m Donna Karlsons with the USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service.
Spring celebrations can often feature foods we don’t prepare as often during the year, so here are some food safety tips to help you keep food borne illness from ruining your party. As with any food preparation, always beginwith the basics: clean, separate, cook, and chill. Clean your hands often with soap and warm water and clean all surfaces and utensils with soap and hot water.
Keep raw foods separate from uncooked meats by using separate cutting boards and servers. And cook foods to a safe minimum internaltemperatures and chill leftovers promptly. If eggs are part of your celebration, store them inthe carton in your refrigerator at 40 °F orbelow. Eggs will keep good quality for 3-5 weeks fromthe date you purchase them. Many springtime celebrations call for hardcooking eggs. Cook the eggs until the yolks are firm, cool themin cold running water, and refrigerate them within 2hours. At this point you can make deviled eggs or dye them. If you’re going to dye the eggs and hide them,they’ll still be safe to eat – IF you hide them in clean places, and retrieve them within 2 hours. Shorten that to one hour in hot weather.
You may also want to consider using plastic eggs for the hunt. If you know the eggs have been at room temperaturefor longer than two hours, or if there is any doubt,throw them out. Some typical meats for spring celebrationsinclude ham, pork tenderloin, turkey breastand corned beef. Pork, Ham, and beef should reach a safe minimuminternal temperature of 145 degrees F as measuredwith a food thermometer before removing the meatfrom the heat source. For safety and quality allow meat to rest for atleast 3 minutes before carving or consuming. Turkey breast should reach a safe minimum internaltemperature of 165 degrees F. After the meal, slice the leftovers and store in shallow containers in the refrigerator promptly.
Don’t let the meat or eggs sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. The leftovers will be safe in the refrigerator for 3to 4 days. If you don’t serve the meats within the 3 to 4days, you should freeze them. Make sure your freezer is at 0 °F. Apply the same guidelines for ham, turkey breast orother spring seasoned meats. If you have food safety questions, “AskKaren” atAskKaren. gov. Or, call USDA’s Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MP-Hotline. Both are available in English and Spanish.
Or visit USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection website.