Health Watch — Thanksgiving: Safe Serving

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about how you can keep the traditional Thanksgiving feast from being hazardous to your health. While nutrition and calorie counts are important, they’re not the only health consideration. In order to prevent illness, you need to practice good food safety measures when preparing and serving the meal.

Vickie Vaclavik, a nutritionist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says most food-borne illness comes from foods being kept at improper temperatures or from coming in contact with contaminated surfaces. For the former, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. It’s the in-between temperatures that are dangerous. Don’t leave foods out for more than a few hours, even if your family does like to graze after the feast. To prevent contamination, use different dishes and utensils for cooked foods than you used with raw foods, and wash your hands often while cooking, using a clean or disposable towel to dry your hands.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.


November 2008