Public Info

Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

Union County, NJ – Making and sharing home-cooked food is an essential part of holiday celebrations for many households, and a few simple kitchen rules will help ensure that home-made meals, treats, snacks and edible gifts are safe and healthful.

The following tips are provided by nutrition experts from the Rutgers University Department of Food Science:

Wash hands and surfaces

  • Wash your hands with warm water for at least 20 seconds before cooking and after using the bathroom
  • Wash fresh produce under running water
  • Wash the lids of canned goods before opening

Don’t cross-contaminate

  • Separate raw meat in grocery bags and in the refrigerator
  • Use a separate cutting board for raw meat

Cook foods to a safe temperature

  • Buy a food thermometer
  • Make sure food is cooked to recommended temperatures:

Properly storing and home-made food is another area of consideration. That includes keeping some foods properly chilled during transportation.

The experts also recommend washing all fruits and vegetables in clean water, and exercising precaution with certain foods including raw cookie dough and cake batter, raw fish, unpasteurized milk and cheese, bean sprouts, deli meats and hotdogs.

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders partners with Rutgers University to bring science based health and wellness research to the community, by supporting the programs and activities of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. The Extension offices are located in the Colleen Fraser Building in the Union County complex in Westfield, at 300 North Avenue East.

For more health and wellness tips visit online at the Union County website, or call 908-654-9854. The Extension also offers popular programs for Union County residents including 4-H clubs for students in grades 1-12, Master Gardeners, Master Tree Stewards, and the new Environmental Stewards program.

For all Union County programs and services visit, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.