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Holiday Food Safety

0 Comments 09 November 2012

The holidays are quickly approaching and when gathering your loved ones together for meals it is important that the food that is being served is safe. When you think of going to a restaurant, you want your food to be as safe as possible, but does it cross your mind in your own kitchen? Be safe this holiday and spread cheer, not food borne illness.

When cooking your turkey this season, be sure to cook both the turkey and stuffing completely. If these items aren’t properly cooked, the bacteria may be alive still and can make you very ill. It is also recommended that the turkey and stuffing is cooked separately. The reason for this being it is much safer and produces a higher quality meat as well.

roast turkey su 600619 x Holiday Food Safety Credit

However, if you do prefer to cook your stuffing within your bird,  use a thermometer to make sure your stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part. Your turkey will want to be at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit in the innermost part of the thigh. You may run into your turkey being at temperature before your stuffing is ready. If this happens, be sure to continue cooking the meat until your stuffing is at the correct temperature. You may also scoop your stuffing out of the bird and cook it in a separate dish. Allow 20-30 minutes before carving your turkey.


If the turkey you purchased for your gathering is already stuffed, make sure it was stuffed and frozen within the USDA inspection procedures. It is not recommended to purchase a fresh stuffed turkey.

With a raw turkey, take it home immediately and be sure to refrigerate or freeze your bird. Do not leave your turkey in the refrigerator more than 2 days. To defrost a frozen turkey, you may put it in the refrigerator allowing 24 hours for each 5 pound. A quicker way of thawing your turkey is by placing the wrapped turkey in cold water and allowing 30 minutes per pound. If you’ve chosen to thaw your turkey with cold water, be sure to change the water every 30 minutes. If your thawing method is using your microwave, be sure to cook it immediately.

Fridge Thaw Holiday Food Safety Credit

Prepare your stuffing safely. If you have chosen to stuff your turkey, mix the stuffing before placing it inside the bird. Do not heat your stuffing before putting it in the turkey. Loosely stuff the bird, do not pack it in. For every pound of your turkey, you will want to make about 3/4 cup of stuffing. Be sure the stuffing is moist because moist heat destroys bacteria faster than dry heat.


Once your turkey has been cooked and eaten, cut any left over meat off the bone within 2 hours of cooking. Refrigerate your stuffing and meat separately in shallow containers. Be sure to eat your leftovers within 4 days, if it lasts that long!



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