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Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

11:50 AM, Nov 26, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - People will be preparing a lot of meals this week for the Thanksgiving holiday, but with all that food comes a risk of food poisoning.

With that in mind, here are some safety tips from the Palmetto Poison Center.

  • Refrigerate or freeze perishable food within 2 hours of shopping or preparing.
  • When thawing in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours for each 4-5 pounds of meat. Thawing meat on the counter at room temperature is not safe.
  • Submerging the turkey in COLD tap water is also a method for thawing. Make sure the bird is in a leak-proof container and change the water every 30 minutes until thawed.
  • Never place fresh fruit/vegetables or cooked food in the same container or on the same surface that raw food has touched.
  • Always wash your hands after handling raw meat. Scrub hands, wrists, fingernails and in between fingers with soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers immediately.

And people (particularly first-time holiday cooks) often aren't sure how look to cook the turkey. Here is the center's list of recommendations.

  • For optimal safety, cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. If you place it inside the turkey, do so just after thoroughly cooking the turkey.
  • Set oven temperature no lower than 325oF and make sure the turkey is completely thawed.
  • Cook the bird breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a roasting pan 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep.
  • Check the temperature at the meaty portion of the breast, thigh and wing. The safe minimum internal temperature is 165oF.

The USDA issues the following cook times for your Thanksgiving bird:

? 8-12 pound birds should cook from 2 ¾ to 3 hours
? 12-14 pound birds should cook from 3 to 3 ¾ hours
? 14-18 pound birds should cook from 3 ¾ to 4 ¼ hours

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