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Health departments provide safety tips for preparing holiday meals

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Local health departments across the state are reminding people to stay safe when preparing food for the holidays.

It’s a time of year when people are preparing meals for their families, and small hiccups in the kitchen can be the difference between a delicious meal, and a trip to the hospital.

Brandon Morrill is the Food Program Coordinator with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. He said there are a number of ways to stay safe when preparing food.

“Making sure people are conscious of how long food has been left out, that’s another great way for bacteria and other microorganisms to get growing is when food is left out without temperature control.”

Morrill said if perishable food has sat out for more than two hours, it shouldn’t be eaten.

He said washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and cooking food to its appropriate temperature are also ways to avoid foodborne illness.

Nationally, foodborne illnesses cause roughly 128-thousand hospitalizations and three-thousand deaths annually.