It’s that time of year again! Cooking meals for friends and family is one of the best parts of the holidays–be sure you know how to do it safely.
The four biggest health issues when preparing a turkey include:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in a microwave oven. It’s also important to be aware that turkeys must be thawed at a safe temperature; between 40 and 140°F is when foodborne bacteria multiply the fastest!
As always, be mindful that preparing raw poultry includes the risk of spreading bacteria. Preparation areas (including hands, utensils, and work surfaces) should always be thoroughly cleaned before and after working with the turkey!
From the CDC: “For optimal safety and uniform doneness, cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. ” If you decide to cook your stuffing inside the turkey, however, use a food thermometer to make sure it’s been cooked to a safe temperature.
When cooking a turkey, be sure that you use a food thermometer to guarantee that it’s been cooked thoroughly and to a safe temperature (minimum internal temperature of 165°F) . If you are unfamiliar with using a food thermometer, get familiar with them here and learn to calibrate thermometers that haven’t been used in a while.
For more information on food preparation safety, visit the following resources.
Foodsafety.gov — Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
Medline Plus — Food Safety
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service — Leftovers and Food Safety
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — 4 Basic Steps to Food Safety at Home