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Don’t serve your turkey with a side of salmonella

The holidays are here and it’s time to celebrate. Your plans for a perfect festive gathering may include family, friends, and fun. Don’t forget food safety is an important ingredient in any holiday celebration.

Why should you practice food safety?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 48 million people get sick from foodborne illnesses each year. That’s a lot of people suffering from vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps or worse. Norovirus—which is in the news a lot—is one of the most common foodborne illnesses and is highly contagious.

What can you do to protect your guests?

In our Sharing Holiday Fun with Food—Safely blog post, we gifted you these 4 easy-to-follow food safety tips:

  1. Don’t make food when you are sick—Stay home and don’t prepare food yourself. Have someone else do it for you or send someone to buy ready-made food.
  2. Wash your hands oftenUse warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Remind your kitchen helpers to wash their hands often, too. Be sure to wash your hands every time you take a bathroom break.
  3. Keep small children out of the kitchen—Kitchens can be a dangerous place for little ones. It’s also a dangerous place for cross-contamination. Remind everyone to care for children—including diaper changing—away from the kitchen.
  4. If you hire a caterer, make sure the caterer has a permit—Splurging for a caterer can be exciting but be sure to make a wise investment. Only hire caterers who can show you their health department catering permit. The permit means they have the right equipment to make your food safely in commercial kitchens that we inspect. Find permitted caterers in Pierce County.

Tempted to hire an unpermitted caterer or buy your holiday meal from an online food seller?

Resist that temptation unless you want to gamble with your health and the health of your guests. Unpermitted caterers and many of the food vendors who advertise on social media operate under the radar. They use kitchens we don’t inspect, and we have no way of knowing if they follow safe food practices. Neither do you.

Whether your holiday gathering is large or small, make sure food safety is on the menu. Leave your guests delighted at the dinner table, not tormented in the toilet. Learn more about best practices to make safe meals at


Report a Suspected Unpermitted Online Food Seller—Not only is it unsafe for people to sell food without a permit, it’s also illegal.

Permitted Cottage Food Operators—The state’s Cottage Food Law allows sellers to make certain baked goods in their home kitchens to sell directly to the public.

Permitted Pierce County Caterers—Food establishments with permits from the Health Department to operate as caterers.

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