Turkey Talk Ė Holiday turkey handling tips
by Nebraska Regional Poison Center
November 15, 2012
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six Americans will get sick from dangerous food borne bacteria this year. The holiday meal and its preparation is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving celebration and safe food handling in the kitchen is a very important part of the holiday. To keep your friends and family safe from food poisoning there are certain steps that everyone should know. Before you start -all kitchen helpers should follow a strict hand washing policy by using warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food. The following crucial safety tips can help you have a safe holiday celebration:
DO keep turkey in its original wrapping, refrigerated until ready to cook.
DO wash hands with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds before preparing food.
DO defrost a frozen turkey by refrigeration or cold running water.
DO allow one day for every 5 pounds to defrost in the refrigerator. In a cold water bath, change the water every 30 minutes. A 20 pound turkey will take 12 hours to defrost in cold water.
DO use a meat thermometer to check if turkey is done. The turkey should cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
DO remove the stuffing immediately after the turkey is cooked.
DO store the turkey and stuffing separately.
DO store leftover turkey in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days.
DO store leftover stuffing and gravy in the refrigerator and use within 1-2 days.
DONíT defrost a turkey at room temperature. Bacteria can multiply to unsafe numbers on outer layers before inner layers have defrosted.
DONíT leave an uncooked thawed turkey out of the refrigerator longer than 2 hours.
DONíT partially cook the turkey one day and continue roasting the next day.
DONíT prepare food if you are sick or have any nose or eye infection.
DONíT leave leftovers out on the counter longer than 2 hours.
DONíT store leftover stuffing in the turkey.
DONíT re-freeze a completely thawed uncooked turkey.
DONíT stuff turkeys as it makes it difficult for the internal temperature to reach 165įF within a safe period of time. If you must stuff your turkey, stuff it lightly before cooking and leave room for the oven to cook the interior of the turkey and stuffing.
Wyomingís Poison Center offers tips on Thanksgiving safety and poison prevention as a free service to the public. For more information, contact Wyoming Poison Center by calling toll-free at 1-800-222-1222. Sponsored by the Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Wyoming Department of Health Office of Emergency Medical Services.