News Releases

December 22, 2010

State Health Department Offers Food Safety Tips for Holidays

With the holiday season in full swing, Missourians will gather for a wide variety of family meals, office parties, community banquets and other events where food will be a main attraction. While these events are central to holiday celebration, if the food is not handled safely, there is an increased risk for foodborne illness.

"Food is and has always been such an important part of gatherings, whether they are family Christmas dinners, holiday office lunches, or Super Bowl parties with friends. Nothing brings people together like food," said Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services director Margaret Donnelly. "We want to make sure people know the proper steps to take to celebrate safely."

The U.S. food supply is among the safest in the world, yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 48 million foodborne illnesses occur annually in the United States, and more than 128,000 people are hospitalized every year after consuming food contaminated by harmful bacteria.
"The holidays should be remembered for the good time that everyone had, not for an illness that could have been prevented," said Donnelly.
The following basic food safety tips can help prevent a holiday celebration from turning into a trip to the hospital.

Holiday Food Safety Tips

More information about food safety can be found at or by contacting your local public health agency.

For more food safety information, watch DHSS's Healthy Living podcast.