Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tips to Avoid Thanksgiving Food Poisoning

Turkey day is almost here. Don’t let your main course make you sick. Before you and your family sit down to gobble up a cornucopia of food take these precautions to avoid food poisoning.

Food Preparation Tips:
  • Wash your hands before handling food, after handling raw food before moving on to another task, and before eating.
  • Keep raw foods like poultry and meats separate from vegetables and side dishes that will not be cooked. Use different utensils for raw, cooked, and uncooked foods.
  • Clean your work surface often to avoid contamination. Wipe food preparation surfaces with a disinfectant after preparing uncooked meats and produce.
  • Do not allow food to sit at room temperature for prolonged periods of time before cleaning.
  • Place leftovers immediately in the refrigerator after eating providing you will eat them within three days. Otherwise freeze your leftovers. 

Turkey Cooking Tips:
  • Thawing out your turkey the wrong way can make you sick. Frozen meat and poultry left on the counter to thaw more than two hours is not safe. It’s best to thaw your turkey out in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.
  • Use a turkey thermometer to ensure your turkey is fully cooked. An internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit kills harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning. The best way to check the internal temperature is in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
  • Stuffing cooked outside of the bird is safest . If you are a stickler for traditional inside-the-bird stuffing, the USDA says to follow the same temperature protocol (165°) as you would for the turkey itself.
 Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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