Ham on your holiday menu?
Remember to follow these ham safety tips if preparing a ham for your next get together.
If you are serving ham for a holiday, party or just because it sounds good, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has important food safety tips for you. There are various kinds of ham and each has its own set of food safety rules.
First, note if the ham is “fresh” or “cooked.” According to the USDA and Food Safety.gov, fresh ham is an uncured leg of pork and will bear the term “fresh” as part of the product name as an indication that the product is not cured. These hams need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit in an oven set no lower than 325 degrees.
Cooked hams, including spiral cut, can be eaten cold according to the USDA. If you like to warm it up, “hams that were packaged in processing plants under USDA inspection must be heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit as measured with a food thermometer or 165 degrees Fahrenheit for leftover spiral-cut hams or ham that has been repackaged in any other location outside the plant. To reheat a spiral-sliced ham in a conventional oven, cover the entire ham or portion with heavy aluminum foil and heat at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes per pound. Individual slices may also be warmed in a skillet or microwave.”
Michigan State University Extension recommends following these guidelines: Cook ham to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes.
The USDA offers information for pregnant women. Pregnant women and their unborn children may have a higher risk of developing certain foodborne illnesses. Others who also have a higher risk include young children, the elderly and people with a weakened immune system. Listeriosis is a foodborne illness caused by a harmful bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes. Every year, 2,500 Americans become ill with Listeriosis and one out of every five cases results in death. Pregnant women and their unborn children have a higher risk of developing Listeriosis.
If you are planning a ham, be sure to follow these food safety guidelines and enjoy your next gathering with family and friends.