With Thanksgiving right around the corner NOW is the time to start preparing for your holiday feast! Below are some safety tips that will help keep your family and your food safe.
Cleanliness is next to Healthiness! Prevention of foodborne illnesses is a direct result of safe food handling. Wash your hands and entire prep/cooking surface before you begin and throughout the preparation and cooking process. Never allow raw meat to touch a surface where you may be chopping raw foods such as vegetables. Always keep any raw meats below any other foods in your refrigerator to avoid contamination.
Did you know it takes 5 days to thaw a 20 pound turkey safely in the refrigerator? So get that frozen bird into a refrigerator by Saturday the 17th that has been set at 40 degrees or below. If you missed the deadline don’t cancel dinner… you can soak your turkey in cold water changing the water every 30 minutes. NEVER leave any meat to set out on a counter to defrost!
Ready to serve? Use a meat thermometer to ensure that you reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Are you are stuffing your turkey? Make sure the stuffing has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees before you serve that bird.
The most important things to keep in mind when cooking are HOT FOODS MUST STAY HOT (140 degrees or higher) and COLD FOODS MUST STAY COLD (40 degrees or below)! So once you serve your feast, refrigerate any leftovers in shallow containers within two hours. If you are heating them up again the food temperature should reach at least 140 degrees. After 4 days, dispose of any leftovers (unless you freeze them) and always remember…. When in doubt…. Throw it out!
- Robert Yin, M.D., is a physician with the GBMC Gastroenterology practice