The holiday season is here and that means family, fun and feasts. The guests we don’t want at the holiday table: illness-causing germs and bacteria. Holiday food safety is paramount to keeping your holiday season happy and healthy. Before you start preparing your feast, make sure to take some holiday food safety precautions.

Wash your hands. Before you begin food preparations, when switching from raw foods (like your raw turkey) to vegetables or prepared foods and when you are done cooking, you should always wash your hands. 20 seconds with soap under running water will kill the majority of bacteria, reducing the risks of spreading any germs that could make people sick.

Clean and sanitize surfaces. Food preparation surfaces, like countertops, cutting boards and utensils need to be cleaned and sanitized with hot soapy water after preparing each food item.

Maintain temperatures. Use a food thermometer to ensure cold dishes stay cold enough and hot dishes maintain their temperatures. Use a chaffing dish, crock pot or hot plate to keep food warm and set up cold foods in dishes with ice to prevent bacteria growth. Visit the government’s Food Safety website for a list of cooking temperatures.

Follow Leftover Storage Safety. Many of us spend the holidays munching throughout the day. However, it can be dangerous to leave food out for extended periods of time.

When in doubt, throw it out. Prepared food should not be left out for more than two hours to prevent bacteria growth. Can’t remember how long food has been sitting out? Throw it in the trash to avoid any foodborne illnesses.