By following these simple food safety guidelines, you can prepare your meals properly and ensure that you and your guests safely enjoy every bite.
Food Safety Tips:
- Keep cold food below 40 degrees and hot food above 140 degrees.
- Thaw your frozen meat on a tray in the refrigerator or in cold water with the breast side facing down. Once thawed, prevent uncooked juices from dripping onto other foods in the refrigerator by placing packaged meats on a separate tray or in a sealed dish.
- Cook fresh meat as soon as possible, but no later than the Use-By date on the package. Fully cooking meat destroys bacteria that could cause food-borne illness.
- Store raw meats away from the cooked meats, as well as away from fresh fruit and vegetables, to prevent cross contamination from occurring.
- Store cooked meats in the refrigerator as soon as your meal is over. The maximum time limit for keeping cooked meat at room temperature is 2 hours.
- When transporting cooked meat from your home to a party or another location, remember to keep it cold in a cooler or similar vehicle.
- Experts recommend using two cutting boards, one strictly to cut raw meats and the other for vegetables and cooked foods. Cutting boards should be washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water after each use and allowed to air dry or be dried with clean paper towels.
- Wash hands, work surfaces, and utensils touched by raw meat and its juices with hot, soapy water.
- Use a meat thermometer to determine turkey’s doneness. If you don’t have a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the stuffing in the turkey, the stuffing should be cooked separately. To find a meat thermometer that meets your kitchen needs before your meal preparation begins, visit Amazon.com.
- Use cooking methods that allow the turkey to reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees in less than 4 hours and a final temperature of 180 degrees in the thigh. If stuffed, the stuffing should reach 165 degrees. Avoid using a low roasting temperature or partial cooking method.
- Store turkey, stuffing, gravy, broth, and other leftover cooked foods in separate containers in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking. Remove turkey from bones before storing.
Turkey Safety Tips:
- Thawed turkey may be kept in the refrigerator up to 4 days before cooking.
- Use paper towels, not cloth, to wipe off turkey and clean up juices.
- Combine stuffing ingredients and stuff turkey just before roasting, not the night before.
- Always cook turkey to a minimum of 165°F as measured with a meat thermometer. We recommend white meat be cooked to 170°F and dark meat to 180°F for best eating quality.