Socializing for the holiday – food safety style

Michéle Samarya-Timm, a registered environmental health specialist with the Somerset County Department of Health in New Jersey (represent) writes:

Thanksgiving Day, as its name implies, is a time to give thanks. Many of us will travel far and wide to be with those who are important in our lives – you know – those whom we have been texting and Facebooking all year. In Thanksgivings past, socializing meant gathering with friends, family, loved ones and straggler students to share good food and good times. These days, being social around the holiday dinner table also takes on the meaning of regularly corresponding to all and sundry (a.k.a. our extended friends) about the food, the people, the football game, and the current goings on.

Modern technology and connectivity can be a wonderful thing for holiday fun.

Through sites like YouTube and Hulu, we can relive our favorite virtual Thanksgiving food safety moments –

“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.” (WKRP)

“I can’t cook a Thanksgiving dinner. All I can make is cold cereal and maybe toast.” (A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving)

“If I cook the stuffing inside the turkey, is there a chance I could kill my guests?” (The West Wing).

Ever consider that the same modern technology and connectivity can also function as an essential ingredient to safely feed ourselves and others. No one wants to relive Thanksgiving dinner ad nauseum. Surely we all have stories about Thanksgivings that didn’t quite go as planned…Why take a chance that this year will top them all?

With electronic media and the web, we have everything we need at our fingertips, through on-demand videos, online metasearches, and virtual recipe collections. This year, put your laptops and iPhones to good use and avoid kitchen and food safety disasters by expanding your social network to include a few essential friends.

Share info on your favorite food safety apps with your loved ones – both those next to you and those virtually connected. Along with forwarding tidbits about Uncle’s Bob’s latest joke, or debating the aesthetic value of melting marshmallow peeps on sweet potatoes, you can help assure that while Thanksgiving gatherings may wreak havoc on the nerves, digestive systems won’t be affected.

Selected web apps:
Ask Karen:
Butterball mobile site:
bites – Safe Food from Farm to Fork

Traditional phone:
Butterball Turkey Hotline: 1-800-288-8372
Reynolds Turkey Hotline: 1-800-745-4000
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-800-535-4555
Doug Powell: deliberately unlisted ? 785-317-0560

Michéle Samarya-Timm is thankful for the many unnamed professionals who work to assure a safer food supply.