Saturday, April 17, 2021
Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips
By Shannen Hill – Contributing Writer
Published November 22, 2016

Tips to keep your food from harming your loved ones this Thanksgiving

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Thanksgiving is a time for food, love and family, but the last thing anyone wants is for everyone to be sick because that delicious turkey wasn’t prepared correctly. About one in every six people get food poisoning during Thanksgiving, so here are some tips from the United States Department of Agriculture to keep everyone full and happy.

First thing’s first, do NOT clean the turkey. I repeat, do NOT clean the turkey. While it seems like a good idea, cleaning the turkey actually does more harm as it spreads bacteria all over the kitchen. It’s better to just season that turkey in a pan and let the cooking kill off all of those germs.

Secondly, your turkey should have not one, not two, but three thermometers. Turkey’s are so big and have so many pockets that you want to make sure that every part is cooked through. There should be a thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the wing and the innermost part of the thigh and it’s fully cooked when they all reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When cooking, your oven should be at 325 degrees Fahrenheit and your turkey can take anywhere from two to five hours to cook depending on the size.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Now, let’s get to the sides. Make sure to keep any cooked food away from raw food. That means completely separate cutting boards, plates and utensils. Also, for the safest Thanksgiving, food must stay at the same temperature the entire time. So keep that cold food chilled at 48 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and the hot food heated at 145 Fahrenheit or higher.


The only thing better than food on Thanksgiving Day are those Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s best to put dishes in separate containers, but if you are going to share containers keep the meats with the meats and the veggies with the veggies. Food can stay stored in a refrigerator for 3-4 days, but can be frozen for 2-6 months.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

It’s Thanksgiving Day, so if your turkey isn’t thawed out yet, you’re running behind, but we can’t leave you without some tips on thawing the turkey for Christmas or next year’s Thanksgiving. The refrigerator, cold water and microwave are all safe ways to unthaw a turkey, but you want to make sure to cook the turkey immediately after thawing. The refrigerator method takes about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of a turkey. To thaw out your bird with cold water, just submerge it in the water until thawed, but you must change the water every 30 minutes. Microwaving to defrost also works, just type in the weight and the microwave will do the rest of the work. Remember, cook that turkey immediately after it is thawed.

For more tips on keeping your Thanksgiving safe and healthy, visit


Categories: Family | Health | Safety
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