Holiday Turkey Food Safety Tips

Getting ready for a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends often includes preparing Turkey.  Did you know that improper handling of your turkey could make you sick?  The most common causes of poultry-related food born outbreaks like Salmonella happen when food is not properly handled or from undercooking.

Follow these 4 Steps to Help You Safely Prepare Your Next Turkey

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1. Safely Thaw Your Turkey - A thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature. Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator in a container, or in a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes. When thawing a turkey in the microwave, follow the microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter.

2. Safely Handle Your Turkey - Raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches with harmful bacteria. Follow the four steps to food safety –cook, clean, chill, and separate – to prevent the spread of bacteria to your food and family.

3. Safely Prepare Stuffing - Cooking stuffing in a casserole dish makes it easy to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. If you put stuffing in the turkey, do so just before cooking. Use a food thermometer to make sure the stuffing’s center reaches 165°F. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F and may then cause food poisoning. Learn more about how to prepare stuffing safely.

4. Safely Cook Your Turkey - Set the oven temperature to at least 325°F. Place the completely thawed turkey with the breast side up in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the turkey. To make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F, check by inserting a food thermometer into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat. Learn more about safe minimum cooking temperaturesand how to use a food thermometerfor turkey and other foods.

Read the Full Article or Additional Resources

Center's for Disease Control article on Holiday Food Safety

CDC: Food Safety website

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