Agriculture Secretary: Use PA Products in Holiday Meals, Follow Safety Tips for Enjoyable Holiday Gatherings

Dec 23, 2010, 10:00 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As many Pennsylvanians plan to make home-cooked holiday meals, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding today reminded consumers to follow appropriate procedures to ensure the food they enjoy is safe and healthy.

Redding also stressed that using locally produced food — which is usually fresher — helps to strengthen the economy and sustain agriculture-related jobs.

"This holiday season, create special meals and support our local farmers and agribusinesses by including PA Preferred products," said Redding. "When shopping, always look for the PA Preferred logo — a blue keystone with a gold checkmark — to enjoy the bounty of Pennsylvania agriculture."

Governor Edward G. Rendell launched the PA Preferred program in 2004 as a way to promote state-sourced food products and commodities. It has since grown to include more than 2,000 members at 4,000 locations.

Redding offered these food safety tips for cooking meals and handling leftovers:

  • Defrost meats in the refrigerator, in cool running water, or in the microwave.
  • Keep hands and food surfaces clean during food preparation. Wash hands with soap and warm water and dry them thoroughly;
  • Use separate cutting boards, platters, trays and utensils for cooked and uncooked meat, poultry and fish;
  • If making stuffing, ensure it is cooked at a temperature of 165 degrees regardless of whether it is placed inside or outside of the bird;
  • Make sure poultry reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees while pork and beef roasts must reach an internal temperature of 130 degrees for at least 112 minutes; and
  • Refrigerate any leftovers promptly. Never leave cooked food un-refrigerated for longer than two hours.

For more information about PA Preferred, including a searchable database of member locations, products and recipes, visit

For information on food safety, including brochures on safety procedures visit

Media Contact: Matt Tindall, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture