Before You Gobble Up That Turkey Leg . . .

Remember food safety during holidays

TUESDAY, Nov. 26, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- It's time to talk turkey about food poisoning.

Thanksgiving is the top holiday for cases of food poisoning, says Martha Barclay, a food sanitation expert at Western Illinois University.

She offers the following food safety advice:

  • Before you prepare any food, wash your hands thoroughly. You can also wear plastic gloves during food preparation, but remember to change gloves when they become soiled.
  • If you're not feeling well, let someone else do the cooking.
  • Thaw your turkey in the fridge. Remember that the turkey may have to thaw in the fridge for several days, so work that into your planning. Thawing the turkey in the fridge reduces the growth rate of micro-organisms that could be hazardous if the turkey is thawed improperly.
  • Don't cook stuffing in the turkey, cook it in a separate baking pan or dish in order to ensure that it's completely cooked. When stuffing is in the turkey, it can take hours for the stuffing to heat and begin cooking.
  • Use a thermometer to test if food is cooked. A turkey needs to be cooked to 165 degrees F.
  • Refrigerate leftovers. Food that's left out at room temperature for a few hours can make people sick.

More Information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about food safety.

SOURCE: Western Illinois University, news release, November 2002
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