In preparation for Thanksgiving the U.S. Department of Agriculture
released a statement on its Top Five Tips for having a food safe Thanksgiving meal. There's nothing worse than getting sick during holiday's, especially during a time when family is often visiting, so play it safe and follow these rules.
Five Tips for a Food Safe Thanksgiving
1) Don't Wash Your Turkey
When you wash raw meat or poultry bacteria can often spread up to three feet away from the sink. This can cause other items in the kitchen to be contaminated with some of the pathogens turkey's can carry such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. These bacterias will be killed by cooking the turkey so washing it is not necessary.
2) Use the Refrigerator, the Cold-water Method or the Microwave to Defrost a Frozen Bird
These are the three safe ways to defrost a frozen turkey. Letting it sit out on the counter is not a good option. The least labor intensive way is the refrigerator but make sure to plan early if using this method as the press release states, "It will take 24 hours for every 5 pounds of weight for a turkey to thaw in the refrigerator."
3) Use a Meat Thermometer
Rather than using your eyes to judge if a turkey is done use a thermometer and make sure it is at least 165°F in three locations: inner part of the thigh and wing plus the thickest part of the breast.
4) Don't Store Food Outside
No matter how cold it is storing food outside is not safe because it is susceptible to contamination from animals as well as the temperature variation. The sun can heat up packaging and cause food to reach danger levels (above 40°F). Beer is fine cooled outside but keep the other food in a fridge.
5) Leftovers are Good Refrigerated for Up to Four Days
That means get to eating those turkey sandwiches sooner rather than later!
If you have any other questions on food safety you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert. "Last November they answered more than 3,000 calls about Thanksgiving dinner," says the press release, so don't feel embarrassed to call!
Are you less nervous about cooking the dinner and more scared for the conversation with relatives that may have voted for the dark side in this last election? Take a look at our guide to Conversation Staters:
Thanksgiving Conversation Topics
Does cooking a turkey overwhelm you? Well check out our options for places in Central Oregon to buy Thanksgiving dinner and take the hassle and stress out the holiday:
Guide to Places to Eat to Avoid Cooking
Happy Thanksgiving Readers!