Eureka, Ca., (KIEM)- Kitchens across America will be bustling on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of Thanksgiving. Because there might be more opportunities to share food this season, there are also more opportunities to share bacteria and spread food borne illnesses.
To make sure the holiday is filled with cheer, instead of trips to doctor here are a few tips from the Department of Health and Human Services:
- ALWAYS wash your hands. This may seem a little obvious, but it’s important. Before and after handling food of any kind it’s extremely important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Thaw frozen meats with caution. There are right ways and wrong ways to thaw a frozen turkey. DO use cold water that is changed out every thirty minutes. DON’T leave your bird out on a counter. Germs love to sit at room temperature. You can also thaw meats in the microwave right before preparation, or they can be brought up to temperature over time in the refrigerator.
- Cook to the proper temperature. Once your staples are thawed, it’s important that they’re cooked thoroughly. For turkey 165 degrees in the perfect temperature. Check yours with a meat thermometer in at least three places (especially where the meat is thickest). Bacteria WILL be present in under cooked or raw meat.
- Keep the kitchen clean. Make sure that anyone who isn’t in good health is not involved in food preparation or in the kitchen. Sterilize surfaces and avoid rinsing your turkey (this can actually spread bacteria onto counter tops and inside your sink. Only cooking a turkey to proper temperature will successfully eliminate germs.
- Store Left-overs promptly. Don’t leave food out on the counter. The MAXIMUM amount of time that food can be out at room temperature is two hours, and that number varies significantly based on the item itself.
For more holiday meal prep tips visit: https://www.foodsafety.gov/