It’s turkey sea­son: Prac­tise safety at ev­ery step

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Health - COUR­TESY AHS

‘Tis the sea­son for turkey din­ners. From gro­cery store to leftovers, safe food han­dling prac­tices are key to pre­vent­ing the spread of harm­ful bac­te­ria and keep­ing your feast free of food­borne ill­ness.

Sound like a lot to di­gest? With these es­sen­tial turkey tips, we’re mak­ing it easy to serve up safely.

At the Gro­cery Store:

Dou­ble check the “best be­fore” date to en­sure ex­pi­ra­tion date has not passed.

Place the turkey at the bot­tom of the cart away from other food.

Ask for the turkey to be bagged sep­a­rately from all other food.

Keep turkey sep­a­rate from other bags when trans­port­ing from store to home.

Pre-cook­ing Stor­age:

Freeze your turkey im­me­di­ately af­ter re­turn­ing home from the gro­cery store if you will be cook­ing it more than three days af­ter bring­ing it home.

Re­frig­er­ate your turkey im­me­di­ately upon ar­riv­ing home from the gro­cery store if you will be cook­ing it within three days.

Pre­vent raw turkey or turkey juices from con­tam­i­nat­ing other items in your fridge or freezer by en­sur­ing it is stored in a clean plas­tic con­tainer or plas­tic bag that will hold in any leak­ing juices and place the turkey on a plat­ter to catch any leak­ing juices. Al­ways place the turkey on the bot­tom shelf of the fridge or freezer.

Thaw­ing:

Al­ways thaw your turkey in the fridge or by fully im­mers­ing it in a sink of cold wa­ter. If thaw­ing in the sink, keep the turkey in its orig­i­nal plas­tic wrap and change the wa­ter ev­ery 30 min­utes to en­sure the sur­face of the turkey re­mains cold.

Do not thaw turkey at room tem­per­a­ture – it is not safe and could re­sult in the growth of dan­ger­ous bac­te­ria.

Cook turkey im­me­di­ately af­ter it has thawed.

Cook­ing:

Turkey must be cooked thor­oughly, in the oven, un­til the meat reaches a min­i­mum in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture of 85 de­grees Cel­sius or 185 de­grees Fahren­heit.

To en­sure the turkey is prop­erly cooked, al­ways use a meat ther­mome­ter ac­cord­ing to the man­u­fac­turer’s in­struc­tions. Insert the ther­mome­ter into the fleshi­est part of the thigh, en­sur­ing it is not touch­ing any bones. Never slow cook a turkey.

Pre­pare and cook stuff­ing sep­a­rately from the turkey.

Serv­ing:

Serve the turkey within 30 min­utes of re­mov­ing from the oven.

Keep hot food hot: hot foods should be kept at a tem­per­a­ture of at least 60 de­grees Cel­sius or 140 de­grees Fahren­heit.

Keep cold food cold: cold foods should be kept at a tem­per­a­ture of 4 de­grees Cel­sius or 40 de­grees Fahren­heit or lower.

Do not serve food that has been sit­ting at room tem­per­a­ture for more than two hours.

Leftovers:

Re­frig­er­ate all leftovers within two hours of serv­ing.

Left­over meat, stuff­ing or gravy should be eaten within two or three days of cook­ing. Any food that will not be con­sumed within three days should be im­me­di­ately frozen af­ter cook­ing.

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