Ask a health professional: a food safety risk with a thanksgiving feast?

As the British public prepares to reach for their holiday and eating plans, many may be questioning if they can indulge in their favourite holiday tradition with children and family on Thanksgiving

We’re less than a week away from the biggest holiday on the British calendar, Thanksgiving. You may be wondering whether the fact it falls on a Thursday means you’ll be able to have it on Thursday with the kids and family. The answer is yes, but we’d advise you to take those children and your invited relatives off the guest list for the evening – as you may not be able to afterwards.

It’s a long-standing holiday ritual that saw the Thanksgiving feast highlight the finest of meat and and dairy offerings – and a whole lot of gratitude. But when it comes to outbreaks of polio, measles and even fungal meningitis, exposure to the foods on the table for the dinner table can be deadly. We can, and have, had outbreaks in our schools and hotels. So if you go for your favourite turkey leg, don’t risk getting anything else. Even if you leave that all but uncontaminated.

After that, eating what’s left can be dangerous. There is the potential to catch salmonella or a range of other bugs by falling ill. The best way to protect yourself from a good dose of preventable disease is to stay away from meats served during Thanksgiving – chicken or fish would be ideal. Even mashed potatoes, mashed avocado and green bean casserole can harbour bacteria such as E coli and listeria if they don’t come from scratch, cooked before eating. It’s important not to use raw eggs.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that the odds of you catching food poisoning are extraordinarily low and most good food should be properly cooked. Watch out for anything that looks like it’s come from a greasy pan.

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