Don’t invite food poisoning for the holidays

As you finalize plans with family and friends this holiday season, the Washington Poison Center reminds you to keep food safety a priority.

To avoid illness, follow these simple tips:

• If your food has been out at room temperature for more than two hours, toss it. Put food out in small amounts and refill as needed.

• Keep it cold — Keep dips, sauces and other refrigerated-type appetizers on ice.

• Keep it hot — Keep hot foods hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers and warming trays.

• Read instructions — Visit, for tips and guides for preparing holiday foods.

•  Store leftovers separately and freeze if not eaten within three to four days.

• Keep tabs on the alcohol. Children often drink from unfinished glasses of alcohol; empty all glasses and bottles.

• Keep pets safe. Holiday foods and candy can make pets very sick; keep foods with nuts, avocado, onions, chocolate, salt and ham away from animals.

• Call Mr. Yuk — If questionable foods are consumed or illness occurs, contact the Washington Poison Center at 1-800- 222-1222 any time. Poison help is always free (but there is a charge for calls about animals) and confidential.

Services are available for people with hearing problems and for non-English speakers.


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