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Keep your holiday food safe for family and friends

Food is at the center for many of our holiday celebrations.

And as important as it is for your food to taste great, it's equally as important to make sure it gets there safely.

Improperly prepared food can be a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria that can cause illness if it's not handled correctly.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection service is offering a few important tips to make sure the food you share keeps your friends and family feeling good this holiday.

Transporting your food:

  • It's all about temperature
  • If dish is hot: pack in insulated container
  • If dish is cold: use a cooler with ice or freezer packs

Serving your food:

  • Keep foods out of the "danger zone"
  • Use chaffing dishes, warming trays or slow cookers to keep food warm
  • Put cold dishes in ice or use a smaller serving tray and refill from refrigerator when necessary

Dealing with leftovers:

  • Throw out food that's been left out for over 2 hours
  • Immediately refrigerate remaining leftovers

For specific information on how long a certain dish will last in the refrigerator- check out FoodSafety.gov