Have A Safe Thanksgiving!

I’m Linda Petterson, a Certified Food Safety Instructor/Proctor with ServSafe of the National Restaurant Association and with Always Food Safe. With this year’s Thanksgiving dinner quickly approaching, I wanted to share just a few tips to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.

1. Stay Clean: Handwashing is the first step to avoiding foodborne illness. Be sure to sanitize any surfaces that have come in contact with raw turkey. Cross-contamination can be avoided by using separate cutting boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat food.

2. Thaw the Turkey Safely: Wash your hands, but not the turkey! Washing raw meat can transfer bacteria onto the surfaces in your kitchen. Instead, thaw turkey in the refrigerator, allowing 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

3. Cook Thoroughly: Using a food thermometer, inserted into the center of the turkey, ensure its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Stuffing the Turkey: If you plan to stuff your turkey, do so just before cooking. Avoid pre-stuffing. And, note, a stuffed turkey will take longer to cook.

5. The 2-Hour Rule: Don’t leave your food sitting out too long! Refrigerate all perishable foods sitting out at room temperature within two hours of being cooked, or one hour if the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above. After two hours, perishable food will enter the “Danger Zone” (between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit), which is where bacteria can multiply quickly and cause the food to become unsafe.

6. Leftovers: Thanksgiving leftovers are safe to eat for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. It’s not a good idea to reheat turkey or other
leftovers more than once.

Hope you enjoyed these tips and Have a Happy Thanksgiving!