Digital Exclusive: Food safety tips for Thanksgiving holiday

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – With the Thanksgiving holiday next week, it’s important for people to know how to keep their food and home safe.

Captain Ryan Collins, Deputy Fire Marshall at the Sioux City Fire Rescue, said cooking is the number one cause of fires both nationally and locally.

“And the reason is because of the unattended cooking. So around the holiday season, we want to remind people that when you’re cooking, stay in the kitchen, be cognizant of what you’re doing, try to keep the distractions to a minimum; that way, everyone can have a safe and enjoyable holiday season,” Capt. Ryan Collins, Sioux City Fire Rescue.

Captain Collins adds those cooking should keep the spaces in the kitchen cleared of clutter and have a kid-free zone because cooking should be the primary focus when in the kitchen.

He adds people should have a lid or a sheet pan to cover the pot or pan to suppress the fires.

“We don’t want to grab the pan and try to run it outside because history has shown us that you end up just spreading the fire, and you get burned in the process. The best thing to do is cover that pan and turn off the heat,” Capt. Collins.

When it comes to cooking in the kitchen, it’s also important to keep the food in your Thanksgiving dinner safe.

Kelly Ryder, a physician at Siouxland Community Health Center, said everyone should wash their hands before handling the food to keep the germs you picked up away.

“Always be cognizant of not mixing raw meat with food that’s otherwise not going to be cooked with the raw meat, so you’re not contaminating with any bacteria. Being aware of any sharp knives or utensils that you’re going to be using,” said Kelly Ryder, Siouxland Community Health Center.

Ryder mentions in order to avoid cross-contamination be aware of the foods that you’re touching while cooking.

She adds there are a lot of different kinds of bacteria that can be carried in raw meat and vegetables.

“You know we have outbreaks of different bacterial infections, so this time of year when there’s a lot of food preparation going on. We want to be extra careful and make sure we’re not ruining our holiday by making us and our family members sick over the holiday season,” said Ryder.

One advice Captain Collins can give to first-time Thanksgiving cooks is to test your smoke alarms to see if they’re working properly in the home.

For those who want to keep their Thanksgiving leftovers good, keep them in air tight containers and put them in the refrigerator.

Ryders adds because of the COVID-19 pandemic; it’s recommended that we all stay home with immediate family and not be in big gatherings this Thanksgiving season.

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