Monday, November 19, 2012

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 a Thanksgiving dinner take these precautions to ensure your food is safe:

Food Preparation Tips:
  • Wash your hands with soap for 15-20 seconds 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.
  • Do not prepare food if you are sick.

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 out your turkey 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 degrees 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 U.S. Department of Agriculture to follow the same temperature protocol (165 degrees) as you would for the turkey itself.

If you have questions about food poisoning, call your local poison center at (800) 222-1222. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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