Having family and guests gather in the kitchen sounds like a great time and it will be if you observe these cooking safety techniques recommended by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration:

· Plan and organize your holiday cooking well ahead of arriving guests; take time to cook.

· Keep uncooked meats, such as raw turkey, away from the fresh foods youll be serving and prevent cross contamination by using separate cutting boards, plates and serving utensils

· If your kitchen helpers arent trained for the task, teach them the safe way to chop, slice, peel and grate.

· Dont use electrical cooking appliances with frayed cords or equipment that is defective.

· Use oven mitts when handling pots, pot handles and utensils in pots that are hot; use long insulated gloves for deep ovens.

· When checking hot foods on stoves or in microwave ovens, carefully lift the cover on the container, allowing steam to escape away from your arms and face before lifting completely.

· Avoid overcrowding your stove top.

· Immediately clean up spills to avoid slips and falls.

· Wear nonslip, waterproof footwear to minimize slip hazard.

· Watch for little ones in the kitchen, as small fingers can get burned.

For those home cooks who intend to deep-fat fry a turkey, follow these tips from the United States Department of Agricultures website, FoodSafety.gov:

· Use the correct oil, amount and temperature for deep-fat frying.

· Position the fryer on a flat, well-ventilated outdoor area where the floor is dry and is away from plants and guest traffic, especially little ones.

· Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature constantly while turkey is frying.

· Never walk away and leave hot oil unattended.

· Heat the fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; before lowering the turkey into the fryer, turn the burner off.

· Gradually and repeatedly lower, and then raise, the turkey slowly until it is immersed in the fryer to avoid the oil bubbling over; turn the burner back on and raise oil temperature to 350 degrees.

· When turkey is done (allow 3-5 minutes per pound), turn off the burner and slowly raise turkey, letting the oil drain into the fryer. Use a thermometer to check internal temperature of the bird, which should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit when placed in innermost part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast.

For free online workplace safety materials, visit scfaz.com or SCFs blog, SafeAtWorkAZ.com, for workplace safety articles and small business resources. You can also watch free workplace safety videos, including Kitchen Safety in English and Spanish, in SCFs SafetyNet library.

SCF Arizona is the states largest workers compensation insurance company. Founded in 1925, SCF provides coverage for more than 25,000 Arizona businesses and their employees. As a leading advocate of workplace safety, SCF is proactive in keeping Arizonas workers compensation rates among the lowest in the nation. SCF is based in Phoenix and has a statewide presence. For more information about SCF Arizona, visit scfaz.com.   back...
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