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Turkey Safety Tips For The Holidays
3. Don’t rinse that bird
Once the turkey is thawed, it’s ready to cook. DO NOT WASH IT IN THE SINK. This is a very common mistake, and rather than preventing food poisoning, it actually increases the risk, because the water that invariably splashes off the raw turkey on the counter can spread germs. If the turkey has e. coli or salmonella on it, those germs have now contaminated the countertops and other surfaces nearby. If you cook your turkey at the proper temperature, it will kill any harmful germs.
4. Cook your turkey properly
The conventional oven is the most popular way to prepare a turkey. Make sure you have your oven set to the correct heat and that it is cooked thoroughly. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius). The actual cooking time will vary depending on how big the turkey is and whether or not it is stuffed. The most important thing to keep track of is the internal temperature, because this is what determines if the turkey is safe to eat. The internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit/74 degrees Celsius. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature in the breast, and in the thickest, innermost part of the bird between the thigh and the wing.
Don’t let the leftovers sit out too long. Try not to leave the food sitting out for more than 2 hours. There is a “Goldilocks zone” for bacterial growth within food—between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (4.44 to 60 degrees Celsius). The longer food sits out on the counter, the more likely it is to fall within that temperature range. Simply packing it up after an hour or two is an easy way to avoid this problem.
Follow these simple steps to make sure that you have a safe and delicious holiday meal that is full of cheer and free of food-borne illness. Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season!