As the Jewish community observes the holy holiday of Passover, many individuals will consume food with family and friends. In honor of the holiday here are seven food safety tips, plus one extra for those individuals that celebrate for eight days.
- While Passover is a multiple day holiday, cooking meat and poultry shouldn’t be. Meat and poultry, especially large cuts, should not be cooked ‘low and slow’ at an oven temperature below 325° F. Below that temperature, items can spend too long heating up, bacteria can multiply quickly and toxins can be formed to make your dish unsafe.
- Kosher meat and poultry products are those produced under rabbinical supervision. Verify safety of meat and poultry by looking for the “Passed and Inspected by USDA” seal to ensure your item was produced in an establishment inspected by the USDA, in addition to being produced under rabbinical supervision.
- A lamb shank bone is commonly used during the Seder Dinner. Marrow inside beef, pork, and lamb bones are safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 145° F with a 3 minute rest.
- Eggs are safe for 3 to 5 weeks in a refrigerator measuring 40 °F or below, as measured by an appliance thermometer.
- Hard cooked eggs can be safely stored in a refrigerator for 1 week.
- Chametz are the forbidden foods during Passover that may include wheat, oats, rye, and barley products that have leavened. Meat and poultry products consisting of two or more ingredients must have an ingredient statement, so if you want to make sure you’re avoiding Chametz, check the ingredients statement.
- Raw meats may have the appearance of being cooked, check labels to verify if meats are raw and cook to the proper internal temperature.
- Whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb and veal should be cooked to 145 °F. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.
- Ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal should be cooked to 160 °F.
- All poultry should be cooked to 165 °F.
- During celebrations keep hot foods at or above 140° F by placing in preheated oven, chafing dishes, preheated warming trays, or slow cookers.
No matter how long you observe Passover remember the FOUR steps of food safety – Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.