Church Kitchen Safety Guidelines for Thanksgiving Celebrations

Church Kitchen Safety Guidelines for Thanksgiving Celebrations

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for fellowship and meal sharing in our churches. Safe food preparation is a goal of all good chefs and helpersChurch Kitchen Food Safety whether preparing meals for home or for church. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that every year approximately 76 million people in the United States become ill from harmful bacteria in food. To minimize food risks, Church leadership should develop a written policy regarding food preparation/food safety and all employees and/or volunteers who work in your kitchen should receive training on these procedures. The holidays are a great time for the church family to review Church Kitchen Safety Guidelines before your Thanksgiving celebrations.

Church Kitchen Safety Guidelines for Thanksgiving Celebrations



  • Only use foods before the “use by” date.
  • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables with cold water before using.
  • There is no need to wash or rinse meat or poultry.
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot, soapy water before and in between using each food item.
  • Use one cutting board for produce and a separate board for meat and poultry to reduce the risk of salmonella and other bacteria causing illnesses. Using different color cutting boards for different food items will help reduce cross contamination.
  • Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods while shopping, preparing, or storing. Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • Keep juices from different food items from mixing.
  • Marinate meat, seafood, and poultry in the refrigerator in a covered, non-metallic container.
  • To properly thaw frozen meat, it’s best to plan for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Allow about one day for every five pounds of meat to thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Many people assume that if a hamburger is brown in the middle, it is done. However, looking at the color and texture of food is not enough – you must use a food thermometer to be sure.



  • When someone brings food from home, be sure it is heated or refrigerated until it is served.
  • Don’t serve home-canned foods. Most outbreaks of foodborne botulism are caused by
  • home-canned foods.
  • When hosting a buffet, do not mix new food with existing food.
  • Use separate platters for holding raw and cooked food.
  • Food should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if it’s more than 90
  • degrees Fahrenheit outside). Remember, many foods brought from home will already have been out for a significant period.
  • Hot foods should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking.
  • Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Food should be reheated only once.
  • When being served, hot foods should be kept at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above and cold foods at 40
  • degrees Fahrenheit or below.
  • Use separate utensils for each food item during cooking and serving.
  • Use disposable gloves when handling ready-to-eat foods without utensils



  • Finally, if there are any leftovers from serving or preparing the meal, follow these tips for storing it safely:
  • Label all leftover foods with a date.
  • Refrigerated leftovers should be used in three to five days.
  • Don’t ever taste food to check for freshness. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • If using coolers, food should only be consumed if there is still ice in the cooler and the food is cooled to
  • refrigerator temperature.
  • Refrigerator temperatures should range from 34 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Foods spoil rapidly above
  • 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Check refrigerator and freezer temperatures periodically and keep a log of who checked temperatures
  • and the dates they were checked.
  • By following these recommended food safety tips, you make your kitchen safer while potentially
  • preventing a case of food poisoning (or worse). Be proactive in protecting the people who enter
  • your facility and make sure your kitchen is as safe as possible.



  • 145˚F Whole cut meat: beef, veal, lamb and pork (allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming)
  • 160˚F Ground meat: beef, veal, lamb and pork
  • 165˚F All poultry (whole and ground)
  • 160˚F Egg dishes
  • 145˚F Fish
  • 160˚F Ground beef
  • 160˚F Pork
  • 165˚F Poultry, whole and chicken breasts
  • 145˚F Steaks and roasts

Use a food thermometer to make sure food cooked in the oven or on the stove top or grill reaches a temperature hot enough to kill germs.

Click here for additional guidelines regarding kitchen sanitation.

Click here for more information from the CDC.

We thank GuideOne Insurance for this information.

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