Top 8 Tips to Keep You and Your Guests Safe During a COVID-19 Thanksgiving

Reading, Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 17, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The 2020 holiday season is certain to look different this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic changing the way friends and family celebrate. Even though the gathering may be different, it is important to help prepare and cook food safely to ensure the health and safety of you and your guests. 

Chris Boyles, VP of Food Safety for Steritech, provided his top eight tips to stay safe this year over the holidays: 

  1. Keep any gathering small and set standards for your attendees. While the safest way to gather is virtually this year, limit the number of attendees if you plan to host an in-person event. Encourage everyone to wear their favorite mask. Eat outside if the weather permits. And plan a virtual option to touch base with family members who cannot attend due to symptoms or high risk of illness.
  2. Wash your hands. In the age of COVID-19, handwashing is even more important. Make sure to wash your hands frequently with hot water and soap. Provide hand sanitizer for guests. 
  3. Serve food in single-serve, disposable dishes. Eliminate buffet-style service and family-style serving dishes and shared utensils. Consider asking one or two people to plate food for everyone so utensils aren’t passed among many hands.
  4. Thaw your frozen turkey in the refrigerator. Place the turkey in a pan on the bottom shelf to catch any liquid. If you leave a turkey out on the countertop, bacteria can grow. The general rule is to allow 24 hours of thaw time for every 5 pounds of meat. For other ways to thaw a turkey safely, visit USDA’s website. 
  5. Roast turkey at 325° F or higher. You can’t tell if meat is cooked safely just by looking at it. Make sure to use a meat thermometer and insert it at the densest part of the foods to check for internal temperature: 
           Turkey / Poultry - 165° F
           Beef Roast - 145° F
           Fresh Ham - 160° F
           Fully-cooked Ham - 140° F
  6. Do not cook stuffing inside the turkey. Stuffing inside the turkey can be contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella. If you must cook inside the bird, make sure it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165° F 
  7. Avoid cross-contamination. Between tasks, wash counters, cutting boards, utensils and hands with hot, soapy water. Use separate utensils, tools and prep areas for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods. Wipe surfaces with single-use towels rather than a cloth towel to avoid spreading germs. 
  8. Be smart with leftovers. Cool and store leftovers properly to prevent bacterial growth. Move leftovers to the refrigerator within 2 hours. Cut large pieces into smaller ones and leave the containers loosely-covered so the cold air can cool the food quickly. Freeze leftovers that won’t be eaten within 3-4 days, and reheat leftovers to at least 165° F. 

For more information on Steritech, please visit



Steritech is the leading provider of specialized brand protection services for the restaurant, food retail, foodservice, and hospitality industries. As a trusted partner to many of the world’s leading brands, Steritech conducts more than 300,000 assessments a year in the areas of food safety, service excellence, workplace safety, and guest experience to help businesses mitigate risk and drive improvement. In addition to assessment programs, Steritech offers support to quality and safety initiatives with supplementary programs, including self-assessment technology, OneLook health inspection information management, and a wide-range of consulting and special business projects. Founded in 1986, Steritech is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information on Steritech, please visit or call 800.868.0089.

Steritech is part of Rentokil Initial plc, a leading business services company, operating globally in over 70 countries. For more information, visit




01-Holiday Food Safety.pdf

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