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Guarding Holiday Joy: Chlorine Chemistry's Key Role in Safe and Festive Celebrations

Erich Shea

Holiday celebrations, a time of festive cheer and enjoyable feasts, hold a special place in our hearts. The safety of our guests, not only during the holidays but extending through the season's bustling gatherings, is paramount. However, the focus is not on tracking shopping sprees but rather safeguarding against the unseen threat of foodborne illnesses that can linger post-celebration. Here are three crucial holiday safety tips, supported by the efficacy of chlorine solutions:

Cheerful African American father and son baking.
  1. Handle Raw Meat and Poultry with Caution: Visualize raw meat and poultry, such as turkey, as potential carriers of harmful bacteria. This mental image shows the importance of preventing cross-contamination in the kitchen. Avoid rinsing poultry in the sink, as this can spread contaminated water. Instead, use disposable paper towels for wiping. Cooking at a minimum temperature of 165 °F is vital to eliminate pathogens like Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria, S. typhi, Shigella, and V. cholera that may be present in raw poultry.
  2. Utilize Chlorine Bleach for Surface Sanitization: Keep a dilute chlorine bleach solution readily available for maintaining a hygienic kitchen environment during the hectic holiday preparations. A mixture of 1 tablespoon of bleach1 in 1 gallon of water creates an effective sanitizing solution. Apply it to surfaces that come in contact with raw meats, fruits, and vegetables, ensuring a wet contact time of approximately two minutes. This solution, while potent for a day, gradually loses strength afterward.
  3. Organize Your Refrigerator Mindfully: Treat the contents of your refrigerator with the same care as arranging guests around the holiday table. Be cautious not to place raw poultry on upper shelves, as juices containing bacteria could potentially contaminate items below. Promptly refrigerate leftovers within two hours of serving to impede spoilage. Maintain the refrigerator temperature between 32 °F and 40 °F to ensure optimal food preservation.

Tip: Prioritize Hand Hygiene: In addition to the above measures, remember to practice thorough handwashing before, during, and after food preparation. This simple yet effective step significantly contributes to overall food safety.

As we embrace the spirit of holiday celebrations, let these tips guide us in creating not only memorable but also safe and enjoyable gatherings for our loved ones.

1 Most household bleach available is 7.5% strength.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.

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