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Four Steps to a Food Safe Eid ul-Fitr

Traditional Moroccan meal for Eid ul-Fitr after the fast for Ramadan has been broken.

Traditional Moroccan meal for Eid ul-Fitr after the fast for Ramadan has been broken.

Ramadan will end this week.  This month of fasting concludes with Eid ul-Fitr, and on this festive day it is forbidden to fast. Those commemorating this holiday attend prayer, visit with family and friends, and celebrate. While traditions vary, one component stays the same – FOOD. If you plan on celebrating this “Festival of Breaking the Fast” follow the four simple steps for food safety to keep your loved ones foodborne illness-free: clean, separate, cook and chill.

During Eid ul-Fitr, observers visit the homes of family, friends and neighbors. As with most family gatherings and celebrations, children often play while adults talk. Also like most family gatherings and celebrations, food is usually served, in the form of a small snack or a large meal. As you and your family make your holiday visits, make sure your children clean their hands before they enjoy the day’s treats.

As you start to organize your cooking schedule, consider preparing your ready-to-eat items – such as fresh fruit, Kleicha, or ghraybeh – before your dishes containing raw meat. Keeping these foods separate will prevent the bacteria that exist on and in meat from coming in contact with the dishes you will not be cooking. If you must make your ready-to-eat dishes after your meat dishes, wash your cutting boards, cooking utensils, and kitchen surfaces thoroughly with hot soapy water before you start.

Meat Temperature
Beef & Lamb: Steak, Roast, and Chops 145 oF (62.8 oC) with a 3-minute rest time
Ground Beef & Lamb 160 oF (71.1 oC)
Chicken, Turkey, & Duck: All Cuts 165 oF (73.9 oC)

Many of the traditional foods consumed during Eid ul-Fitr are curry and stew based. These dishes, such as beef rendang, usually consist of pieces of meat and vegetables cooked in a broth or sauce. Cooking the meat in these dishes to the right temperature is the only way you can prevent several forms of foodborne illness.  To check meat temperatures in a curry or stew, it is important to test the temperature of multiple pieces of meat. Meat pieces are usually not uniform in size, and therefore have different cooking times.

If your Eid ul-Fitr cooking schedule has you preparing dishes more than 2 hours before you will serve them, it is important to make sure you chill them properly to prevent bacteria growth. Dishes that contain, meat, dairy, or eggs should be refrigerated in shallow containers that allow them to cool down quickly.

By following these steps and you, your family, and your guests will have a food safe “Festival of Breaking the Fast”. Eid Mubarak (this means blessed Eid and is a traditional Muslim greeting for this holiday)!

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