Food Safety At Easter Easter dinners are usually either ham, chicken or turkey. Since food poisoning occurs frequently when these foods are improperly prepared, it’s important to remember to keep food safety in mind. When I was a new inspector working at the local Health Unit, I received a call from a local resident concerned about her Easter turkey. She had cooked it properly the evening before and went to bed. When she returned to the kitchen the next morning, she remembered that she had left the turkey in the oven overnight! She wanted me to tell her she could still use it, but that didn’t happen. She was most upset to think she had to discard the turkey! All poultry products must be cooked thoroughly and checked with a meat thermometer as shown. Using clean knives, cutting boards, and washing hands before and after food preparation are all standard practices which are easy to do and prevent disease spread. The main concern with poultry is Salmonella. Ham can grow Staphylococcus bacteria which is found on our skin and in our upper respiratory tract. It’s important to cook both meats thoroughly to the correct internal temperature. The only story I have to tell regarding ham is that a customer once found a nail packaged in with the ham. She was also quite upset and took it back to the butcher at the local grocery store. The nail is categorized as a physical contamination of food which I will discuss after Easter.