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Holiday Food Safety In Spotlight

According to the Food and Drug Administration, most cases of food poisoning happen during the summer months, but there is a spike of cases in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

Several things may be to blame for the increase, reports The Saturday Early Show's Dr. Emily Senay. People aren't cooking as much as they used to, so when they do cook for the holidays, they either have forgotten or never learned know about basic food safety practices.

Another reason is that people tend to get sloppy, especially when they are rushed, which is usually the case around the holidays.

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And remember these two golden rules when cooking during the holiday season:

Keep Foods Separate
Dr. Senay says keeping foods separate prevents cross contamination, so bacteria won't spread from one food to another. This is especially true of poultry, raw meat and seafood. Until properly cooked, these foods and their juices should be kept away from ready-to-eat foods, such as dinner rolls.

Clean Hands And Surfaces Often
While this may become annoying after a while, Dr. Senay says it is one of the best ways to prevent cross contamination. And she says that by "surfaces," she's not just talking about countertops and cutting boards, but utensils, as well.

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