By Jessica Domel

With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, loved ones gathering and kids out of school, it can be easy to overlook even the simplest tasks.

I typically forget at least one or two items on the grocery list, for example.

We’re pulled in so many directions this time of year, it’s easy to get distracted. But if there’s one thing you must focus on this holiday season, I recommend these two words: food safety.

It seems simple. Cook foods until they’re done. But it’s not always that easy.

Different proteins require different cook times. And if you don’t cook something enough or thoroughly, that can spell big disaster on your big day.

So here’s a quick guide from FoodSafety.gov:

– Cook ground beef, pork, veal and lamb to at least 160 degrees.

– Ground turkey has to be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165.

Now that’s the magic number. Remember it.

If you’re cooking a turkey this year, make sure you center the bird in your oven and ensure the internal temperature hits 165 before serving your guests.

Leftovers also have to be cooked to 165.

If you’re dining on steak, roast, beef or lamb chops, the internal temp has to hit 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Let it rest three minutes before serving.

Also, be sure you wash your hands, food prep surfaces, utensils, fruits and vegetables to minimize the risk of bacteria in your food.

FoodSafety encourages cooks not to wash meat, poultry or eggs prior to use. But I’ve heard other people say they feel that step is important.

If you do wash your poultry or meat, be sure to thoroughly clean your sink, hands and all surfaces around the area with a disinfectant. Just in case.

The good news is, the American food supply is safe. It’s affordable. We have plenty to celebrate and dine on this year thanks to the men and women who work day in and day out to grow and raise our food. And let’s not forget the people who harvest our foods, package them and then load them on grocery store shelves for us.

They’ve done their part. Now let’s do ours to ensure our family and friends have a safe and happy holiday.

From our table to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Jessica Domel

Field Editor

As a farmer’s daughter and granddaughter, I believe life is best experienced on the farm. I believe Texas agriculture is the backbone of our economy, and we should be proud to show our Texas roots.

Twitter