You plan to eat, drink and be organically merry next week, as you enjoy your Christmas meal.

Let’s make sure it’s a safe one by breaking some bad food-handling habits.

The American Dietetic Association offers the following tips.  

Holding Out on Hot Stuff

Old Habit: When preparing a cooked dish that needs to chill for storage or serving purposes, some home cooks think it’s necessary to wait until food cools before putting it in the refrigerator.

New Tradition: In the old days, placing hot food in a refrigerator could raise the temperature of the fridge and cause food to spoil. Not anymore! To ensure the freshness and safety of homemade food, place it in the refrigerator promptly after cooking. There’s no need to wait.  

Bringing a Homemade Dish

Old Habit: You bring a cooled, lukewarm holiday dish to a relative’s or friend’s home.  

New Tradition: Figure out how much time will pass from the minute you leave your door until your dish is eaten. If it will be more than 2 hours, pack a cold dish in a cooler—or a hot dish in an insulated bag—to keep it safe and bacteria-free.