Thanksgiving is almost here, and I haven’t even started to think about what we’ll be having for dinner. I’m always the one at the grocery store the night before, lucky if I can manage to grab the last can of green beans on the shelf! Turkey is a given, though, and I’m prepared in that aspect… he (or she?) has been sitting in my freezer for a couple of weeks. Now I just have to take it out in time to thaw. When cooking on Thanksgiving (or any other day), it’s important to remember to always keep food safety in mind. Research shows that Americans could do a better job with this. For example:
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 80 percent of foodborne illnesses are linked to meat and poultry.
- NSF International’s Food Safety Survey found that 20 percent of Americans don’t use a thermometer when cooking meat and poultry.
To help better educate consumers and prevent incidences of holiday food poisoning, NSF International (a nonprofit public health and safety organization that certifies consumer goods for safety) has some advice for you…
9 important tips on preparing a safe Thanksgiving dinner
1. Don’t let uncooked turkey sit at room temperature. Shop for a turkey last and get it home and refrigerated promptly. Bag the turkey separately and place it below other food in the refrigerator.
2. Don’t attempt to thaw a frozen turkey quickly by leaving it sit overnight on a kitchen counter. Use one of the following methods:
a. Option I – Place a covered turkey in a shallow pan on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator.
b. Option II – Completely submerge the turkey under a stream of cold (70°F) running water.
3. Never place the turkey directly on the counter; keep it on a platter or in a roaster. Clean and sanitize the counter and utensils after handling raw turkey.
4. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw turkey, using plenty of warm water and soap.
5. Use a thermometer to check for doneness, even if the turkey has a pop-up timer. It is best to check that the turkey has reached 165°F in multiple spots, including the thickest part of the thigh to ensure doneness.
6. If the bird is stuffed, also check the temperature of stuffing to ensure it, too, has reached 165 °F.
7. Wait to stuff the turkey until right before putting it in the oven. For those wanting to prepare stuffing ahead of time, the USDA recommends preparing separate dishes with the wet and dry ingredients and keeping them refrigerated, then mixing the ingredients together just before stuffing the turkey. As a reminder the stuffing should be cooked until it reaches at least 165° F at the center.
8. Once the temperature has reached 165 °F throughout the turkey, it should stand for at least 15-20 minutes before carving.
9. Refrigerate any leftovers immediately. Large portions should be separated into smaller containers and covered loosely to speed cooling.
Giveaway is closed. Winner has been notified and is listed here.
To help spread the word about these nine important tips, NSF will provide one reader of The Domestic Buzz with a helpful prize pack that will come in handy Thanksgiving day:
- This NSF Certified Turkey Roasting Pan, 10 quart, heavy duty!
- This NSF Certified Meat Thermometer
- An NSF Branded Apron
To enter, please leave a comment on this post sharing some advice with me about how you make your Thanksgiving dinner a success. I’ll compile the best comments into a post early next week!
For extra entries:
- Subscribe to my feed by feed reader or email (or let me know if you already do).
- Follow me, @ohMariana, and tweet about this giveaway (one time) using the Tweet button below, or copy this: #Giveaway! Read turkey safety tips & enter to win a roasting pan/thermometer/apron at The Domestic Buzz! http://thedomesticbuzz.com/?p=12351
- Like The Domestic Buzz on Facebook.
Disclosure: NSF International provided the giveaway prize, as well as the same gift for me. Contest ends November 21st, 2010 at NOON EST so I can submit a winner by Monday morning. US entries only, one person per household. Leave a separate comment per entry & a valid email address.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a list of all my latest giveaways!