July 21, 2018

Holiday Food Safety Success Kit

The Partnership for Food Safety Education has put together a Holiday Food Safety Success Kit to help you make your Thanksgiving and holiday meals safe and delicious. Cooking the turkey is the biggest chore on Thanksgiving day and the one most fraught with potential peril.

Thanksgiving Turkey RoastedThawing a frozen turkey can be complicated. A bird that is 15 pounds will take 3 to 4 full days to thaw in the refrigerator – longer if you keep your fridge at 35 degrees F. ┬áNever thaw a turkey on the counter. For more details, please see our post on Thanksgiving – The Big Thaw. But a fresh turkey should be purchased one or two days before Thanksgiving.

There are several methods for cooking a turkey safely. Cook it according to charts for stuffed and unstuffed birds. Make sure your oven is accurate. Remember that you must always check the final internal temperature with an accurate food thermometer. And remember that a stuffed turkey will take longer to cook. If you do stuff the turkey, take the stuffing temperature too, right in the center. It should be at least 165 degrees F.

Never stuff the turkey ahead of time. Prepare the stuffing and fill the turkey just before you put it in the oven. Stuff the turkey loosely; if you pack the stuffing, it may not get to a safe temperature. If the turkey is done and the stuffing isn’t, remove the stuffing, place it in a casserole dish, and bake to 165 degrees F.

And when you test the turkey’s temp, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey thigh. Make sure it’s not touching the bone. And when the turkey is done, remove the stuffing immediately; don’t let it sit in the bird.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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