We’ve shared a lot of great information on food safety over the last few months, but it bears repeating as cooks everywhere prepare their Thanksgiving meals. From pre meal prep to post dinner cleanup, following proper food safety techniques will ensure your holiday meal doesn’t make you (or others) sick:
- Thoroughly wash hands before handling any food.
- Always make sure counter tops, cutting utensils and surfaces are clean.
- Don’t handle meat and fresh foods together. In fact, we recommend using two cutting boards or surfaces.
- If space is limited, clean surfaces using a soy based cleanser designed to destroy harmful bacteria.
- Follow proper washing techniques for fresh fruit and vegetables, whether they will be consumed raw or cooked.
- If you’ve missed the window to safely thaw out your turkey in the refrigerator, use cold water in a sink and change it every 30 minutes.
- Do not rinse turkey or other meats prior to cooking, as this can transfer bacteria to sinks and areas around counter tops.
- Turkey must reach an internal cooking temperature of at least 165 degrees in order to destroy bacteria.
- Use a food thermometer in several locations, including the thickest part of the breast. Do not rely on eyesight or a pop up temperature indicator to determine if your turkey is properly heated.
- It’s also important to make sure stuffing inside the bird is heated to 165 degrees. Better yet, cook the stuffing separate from the turkey.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers as soon as possible to reduce the risk of food borne illnesses. The danger zone for bacteria growth is from 40 to 140 degrees. This includes pumpkin pie.
- It’s also important to reheat leftovers to 165 degrees and use within three days if refrigerated.
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