Thanksgiving is almost here and families are gearing up for one of the most spectacular feasts of the year. But as food preparations begin, is there enough focus on holiday food safety?

A survey by the Water Quality & Health Council found that Americans are more concerned about being around an annoying relative during the holidays than they are about getting sick from improperly prepared holiday food.

Here are some simple tips to help ensure your family has a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Food Safety: 5 Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

  1. Clean – Wash all food contact surfaces with hot, soapy water followed by disinfecting with 1/2 tablespoon chlorine bleach in 1/2 gallon of water. Do this before and after working with raw foods, especially meat and poultry.
  2. Wash Hands – Thoroughly wash hands with warm, soapy water before and after all food preparation and after handling turkey.
  3. Compartmentalize – Keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  4. Cook – To kill any bacteria that might be present, thoroughly cook meat, poultry and eggs to the appropriate temperature.
  5. Chill – Refrigerate leftover perishables at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower within two hours of serving.

Bonus Tip: Are you transporting a dish? Among the safest bets for road travel are cranberry sauce (the high acid content of cranberries is unfriendly to bacteria), rolls and pies (excluding custard and pumpkin pies). For road trips longer than one hour, pack all food items in a cooler with ice. Dishes such as casseroles that are meant to be served hot should be prepared the day before, refrigerated and then transported in ice.

Does your family have any special Thanksgiving traditions that you’d like to share? Moms Against Cooties wishes you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season.