Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Posted by on November 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Thanksgiving is a day for the celebration of family, friends and loved ones. While spending time together and feasting, it’s important to stay safe! Here are some simple food safety tips that can keep you and your loved ones healthy so you can take on Black Friday and the rest of the holiday season.

General Safety

  • Wash hands with soap and water before handling food or eating. If you touch raw meat or poultry it is especially important to wash your hands before handing anything else.
  • Do not cross-contaminate cutting boards, bowls or other surfaces. Keep raw meat and poultry separate from produce and have specific surfaces for each.
  • Wash and sanitize food contact surfaces often.

Turkey Safety

  • Thaw turkey in a refrigerator at or below 40°F. Do not thaw on a counter as thawing at room temperature increases bacteria growth on the surface.
  • Use a food thermometer. Every part of the turkey should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Be sure to check the innermost part of the thighs and wings and the thickest part of the breast to ensure that the turkey is fully cooked. You cannot tell is a turkey is cooked simply by sight.
  • Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving it to allow the juices to set.
  • Stuffing is an excellent environment for bacteria growth, so keeping the turkey and stuffing separate is recommended. If you must stuff your bird, please see this USDA article for safety tips.
  • Carve the turkey with a clean knife and fork; not with a utensil that may have touched it when it was raw.

When Serving

  • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.
  • Use clean serving utensils for each dish.
  • If a loved one is running late and you’re waiting to serve, make sure the food is handled “just right.” Do not let cooked food, meat or poultry remain between 40° and 140°F for longer than 2 hours. Cover dishes or wrap them with tin foil to prevent dryness. See this USDA article for more on what you should do with food if guests are running late.

When Storing

  • Do not leave perishable food for longer than 2 hours after cooking is complete.
  • Use shallow storage containers and store in smaller portions so the food cools down faster.
  • If you plan on eating leftovers within 3 days, store in the refrigerator. Otherwise, label and date your food and place it in the freezer.
  • Use gravy within 1 to 2 days.
  • If you are unsure if a leftover is safe to eat, “when in doubt, throw it out.”

Minimum Temperatures

  • Turkey: 165°F
  • Dishes containing eggs: 160°F
  • Pork, beef, lamb, and veal: 160°F
  • Seafood: 145°F
  • Stuffing: 165°F

From the P.C. Richard & Son family to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Our stores will be CLOSED on Thanksgiving, so see you on Friday!

Photo courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr

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