Tag Archives: food safety

Holiday Food Safety Tips

Holiday Food Safety Tips

Are you cooking for a crowd this holiday season? In honor of Food Service Safety Month, we can help you protect your guests with these helpful holiday food safety tips.

Keep hot food hot and cold food cold while serving guests with things like slow cookers and ice trays.

Put leftovers away after eating. Toss perishable foods that are left out for more than 2 hours.

Putting Away Leftovers


Make sure you’re cleaning produce properly before you start cooking.

Cleaning Before Cooking in the Holiday Season

Cleaning Before Eating


Do you know how to cook safely, like avoiding cross-contamination? Brush up for holiday meals.

Safe Holiday Food Prep

Preparing Your Food Safely


Cooking meats to the right internal temperature could be the difference between a happy holiday and a disaster.

Cooking Thoroughly During the Holiday Season

Hot Enough


Fight food waste in your leftovers this holiday season by storing food properly, using your freezer, and more.

Making the Most of Holiday Leftovers

Fight Food Waste


How long are all those leftovers and special ingredients good for? We can help.

When to Eat and When to Toss Holiday Leftovers

Decoding Expiration Dates

Healthy Summer Party Tips

Healthy Summer Party Tips

4th of July get-togethers and summer parties are in full swing, so we have healthy summer party tips to make your party a success.

First up, brush up on outdoor food safety.

Safe Summer Infographic


Know the 4 steps to food safety for your 4th of July party.

4 Steps to Food Safety


Transport food in coolers whenever possible, and never leave any food with mayo, dairy, meat, or eggs out for longer than 2 hours.

Food Sitting Out


When grilling, cook beef and pork to 145 degrees, ground meat to 160 degrees, and chicken or turkey to 165 degrees.

Temperature Guide


Avoid cross-contamination by keeping dishes and utensils that touched raw meat away from other ingredients and cooked meat.

Tick season is supposed to be bad this year, so set up a bug spray station and use torches or candles to repel bugs.

18 Cookout Hacks to Take Summer Entertaining to the Next Level


Sunscreen is an important part of all outdoor get-togethers. Have it on hand and help prevent skin cancer.

Skin Cancer Awareness Month


And check out our healthy summer party recipes that are perfect for your next party or get-together and, without mayo or dairy, will keep longer outside.


Healthy Summer Party Recipes

Healthy Summer Party Recipes

This week, we featured safe and healthy summer party recipes that are perfect for your next outdoor get-together.

First up are Healthy Deviled Eggs with Avocado that might be gone before you even have to worry about them sitting out.

Healthy Deviled Eggs with Avocado
Image and Recipe via Chef de Home


Throw together this easy Herbed Red Potato Salad that can sit out at your summer party.

Herbed Red Potato Salad (no mayo!)


This light Corn and Zucchini Salad with Feta is a great way to get in some sweet corn.

Corn and Zucchini Salad with Feta
Image and Recipe via Bon Appetit


July 6 was National Fried Chicken Day. Skip the fryer for your party with this Southern Oven-Fried Chicken.

Southern Oven Fried Chicken


Tomato, Onion, and Roasted Lemon Salad is a beautiful dish that’s safe outside on warm days.

Tomato, Onion, and Roasted Lemon Salad
Image and Recipe via Bon Appetit


Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad is a light and tasty side for any outdoor get-together.

Vegan Pesto Gluten Free Pasta Salad | Healthy Summer Potluck Recipe


Bring along this delicious Clean and Healthy Strawberry Crisp for dessert.

Clean and Healthy Strawberry Crisp


And check out our tips for a healthy summer party.

Checking Expiration Dates

Long View: Food Safety – What’s in a Date?

I was hunting for some cookies at my mom’s house, and I noticed a bottle of Tabasco® sauce in the back corner of the pantry. I wondered why she had a new bottle of something she rarely uses, and she told me she just keeps it around and had moved it from her house on Church Street.

“Gee, Mom, that was 12 years ago,” I said, and it got me thinking about expiration dates and what they mean.

I hope during this holiday season and all year long, Health Alliance Medicare members and non-members alike, pay attention to this wise advice from the experts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines the most common terms this way.

• A “sell-by” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before this date.
• A “best if used by (or before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
• A “use-by” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The maker of the product determines this date.
• “Closed or coded dates” are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer.

Who knew?

Another good food safety resource is your local University of Illinois Extension office. Jenna Smith is the nutrition and wellness educator for Livingston, McLean and Woodford counties. She has a safety-first approach.

“Dates on food packaging can be very confusing,” Smith says. “But in general, most dates refer to best quality, not to food safety. When in doubt, throw it out. If the food develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, do not use it.”

As a former holder of a Food Service and Sanitation Certificate, I tend to take a very conservative approach when it comes to food safety. I especially remember some videos on the proper methods for handling raw chicken and the consequences of not maintaining the proper temperature. I didn’t eat poultry for two years.

Paying attention to safe food practices and being well informed are the best ways to be safe. I think my mom’s Tabasco sauce has transformed from a condiment to a treasured family heirloom along the way. I am OK with it for now, as long as I’m not eating it.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Health Alliance!

Baby in a Clean Home

Healthy and Clean Home

This week on social media each day, we gave you tips and articles on how to keep your clean home healthy.

First, we helped you find and clean trouble spots in all the different rooms of your house. Did you know doorknobs are one of the most dangerous bacteria spots in your home?

Looking for the best way to clean something? Check out Real Simple’s guide on cleaning A-Z for the best ways to tackle your messes.

Take a virtual tour of a home to learn about the health danger zones and to make a clean home today.

Check out this Health Magazine list of how best to keep a super clean home and clean in every room:

House plants can be great for your home by cleaning the air. Learn about what kinds to keep.

Check out Real Simple’s list of 66 All-Natural Cleaning Solutions and skip the chemicals.

Food safety is one of the most important parts of keeping your family and home healthy. Refresh yourself on the basics.