By Amanda Hill

Did you hear? It’s true—the domestic queen herself, Martha Stewart, says she spent her Thanksgiving holiday recovering from salmonella poisoning after handling too many raw birds. Proof that no one is perfect when it comes to food safety during the holidays.

The holidays can be a hectic time, but it’s worth taking a few extra minutes to ensure your kitchen and meal preparations are bacteria-free. You want to enjoy the meal gathered around the table with family—not sick in bed.

The good news is, holiday food safety is easy. Just follow these tips from

  • Remember the basics of food safety—clean, separate, cook and chill.
  • Clean all kitchen items thoroughly before use.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling raw food, especially between preparing meat and vegetables. Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
  • Use separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables. (You can even buy color-coded boards to keep them straight!)
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of serving. And, throw out uneaten food within three to four days after refrigeration. No slimy leftovers here!

If you haven’t already, check out the Holiday Food Safety website. The site has tons of great information about food safety, but it also features holiday cooking tips, menu ideas, recipes, shopping lists, food storage labels and more.

Let’s face it—we have all wished we could play hostess like Martha. In this case, though, follow these few easy steps in the kitchen. Your turkey and dressing may not be picture perfect, but it will be safe for you and your guests!