By CBSMiami.com Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Now that the presents are opened, the next big thing on everyone’s minds on Christmas Day will be the mouth-watering feast.

With family and friends coming over, some home chefs may be tempted to take a few shortcuts in favor of entertaining.

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This, however, could lead to problems, according to health experts, because it’s important to practice safe food handling to prevent food-borne illness.

The food-borne illness affects one in six Americans every year. Safe food handling practices are the best way to protect your loved ones and ensure everyone enjoys their holiday meal.

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So how do you do that? Here are some recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Stay Clean
*Don’t prepare food for others if you have recently experienced any illness.
*Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
*Make sure your cooking area is clean: wash cutting boards, utensils, and countertops often with hot water and soap.

Prepare your meals safely
*Separate raw meats from other foods and use separate cutting boards to avoid cross-contamination.
*Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature.
*Keep your refrigerator set below 40°F and refrigerate perishable items.
*Keep food cold during transportation to minimize bacterial growth that can make you sick.

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Properly handle leftovers
*After everyone has enjoyed their meal, divide all remaining leftovers into smaller portions and store them in shallow containers in the refrigerator within two hours of the meal.
*Discard all perishable food items that have been left out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours.
*Always thaw foods properly and reheat holiday leftovers to a minimum of 165°F.

CBSMiami.com Team