Healthy Children - January 2018

Food Safety Tips for our Holiday Turkey

Food handling error and inadequate cooking are the most common problems that lead to poultry-associated food borne disease outbreaks in the U.S. Follow these four food safety tips to help you safely prepare your next holiday turkey meal.

  1. Safely Thaw Your Turkey. Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in a microwave. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. A frozen turkey is safe indefinitely, but thawing must defrost at a safe temperature. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, its temperature become unsafe as it moves into the danger zone between 40° F and 140° F, where bacteria can grow rapidly. Check out this link for more tips about cooking poultry!
  2. Safely Handle Your Turkey. Raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches wit 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 Stuff Your Turkey. Cooking stuffing is 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 has not reached 165° F and may then cause food poisoning. Wait for 20 minutes after removing the bird from the oven before the stuffing from the turkey’s cavity; this allows it to cook a little more. Learn more about how to prepare stuffing safely. Check out this link for more tips about stuffing!
  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 temperatures and how to use a food thermometer! Check out this link for more tips about food temperature! Check out this link for more tips about using a food thermometer!