Thanksgiving Meal Preparation Safety

November 25, 2013 Updated Nov 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM EDT

By Mitch Simon

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Thanksgiving Meal Preparation Safety

November 25, 2013 Updated Nov 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM EDT

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) - Erie County is reminding residents to be aware of preparation safety when cooking that Thanksgiving meal.

“It is essential that you thaw turkeys while keeping them at a safe temperature. Foodborne bacteria multiplies rapidly between 40°F and 140°F." says Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein.

"A frozen turkey is safe indefinitely, but as soon as it begins to thaw, bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to grow again. Turkeys can be thawed one of three ways: in a refrigerator, in cold water, or in a microwave oven.”

“After working with raw poultry, always wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before touching other foods.” says Burstein. “Also, it is essential that your turkey reaches a safe internal minimum temperature of 165°F. To ensure safe home food preparation, be sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.”

Here are some other tips:

 

  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of preparation. Leaving food at room temperature too long is one of the biggest holiday food safety problems. When food sits outs for more than two hours in the danger zone -- above 40 degrees and below 140 degrees -- it is prime for bacterial growth.
  • Store leftovers in 2-inch deep, shallow containers and make sure the refrigerator is not over-packed, thereby allowing plenty of air to circulate so food can be properly cooled.
  • Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees. Filling a plate with food and popping it into the microwave for a few minutes may seem safe enough. But, a thermometer needs to be used to make sure all the food is reheated enough to kill bacteria. Microwaves heat in an uneven manner, so let the covered food sit for a one to two minutes to allow the heat to destroy bacteria that may have been present.

For more information from Erie County, click HERE.