WASHINGTON, November 7, 2022 – Hold your abdomen filled with turkey and freed from foodborne sickness this Thanksgiving. The U.S. Division of Agriculture (USDA) reminds us all that it is essential to recollect steps to meals security throughout America’s largest meal.

“Whereas the 4 steps to meals security—clear, separate, prepare dinner and freeze—are essential day-after-day and at each meal, they’re particularly essential at Thanksgiving,” mentioned USDA Deputy Assistant Secretary Sandra Eskin. “Your vacation desk will doubtless have a lot of company and plenty of scrumptious meals, however you do not need to invite any foodborne pathogens. Observe these 4 steps — particularly bear in mind to make use of a meals thermometer — and your Thanksgiving dinner will likely be secure.”

Retailer meals on your Thanksgiving feast by following the ideas under.

Clear and disinfect

Hand washing is step one in avoiding foodborne sickness. Wash arms with cleaning soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds earlier than, throughout and after dealing with meals. In a latest research, 97 % of members in a USDA take a look at kitchen failed to clean their arms correctly. You’ll want to comply with these hand washing steps:

  • Moist your arms with clear, working water.
  • Lather your fingers with cleaning soap.
  • Wash your arms and fingers with cleaning soap for a minimum of 20 seconds. Wash your arms below clear, working water.
  • Dry your arms with a clear towel or air dry them.

Clear and disinfect any floor that has touched the uncooked turkey and its juices and subsequently touched meals, reminiscent of kitchen counters, sinks, stoves, counter tops, and many others.

Keep away from cross contamination

Cross-contamination is the unfold of micro organism from uncooked meat and poultry to ready meals, surfaces, and utensils. One strategy to keep away from that is to make use of separate chopping boards, one for uncooked meat and poultry and one other for fruit and veggies. Our newest research discovered that sinks are essentially the most polluted areas within the kitchen. The USDA recommends in opposition to washing your uncooked poultry as a result of threat of spraying micro organism into your kitchen. Clear and disinfect all areas that can are available contact with the turkey earlier than and after cooking.

Safely soften Turkey

By no means thaw your turkey in sizzling water and depart it out on the counter. There are 3 ways to soundly thaw a turkey: within the fridge, in chilly water, and within the microwave.

  • Freezer thawing. Turkey will be safely thawed within the fridge to permit for sluggish and secure thawing. When thawing within the fridge, permit roughly 24 hours for every 4 to 5 kilos of turkey. As soon as thawed, turkey is secure within the fridge for one to 2 days.
  • Thawing with chilly water. the chilly water thawing methodology will thaw your turkey quicker, however would require extra consideration. When thawing in a chilly water tub, permit half-hour per pound and immerse the turkey in its unique packaging to keep away from cross-contamination. Change the water each half-hour till the turkey is thawed. Turkey ought to be cooked instantly after thawing.
  • Microwave melting. Observe the producer’s suggestions for thawing a microwaveable turkey. Cook dinner it instantly after thawing, as some elements of the meals might turn into sizzling through the thawing course of and start to prepare dinner, bringing the meals into the “Hazard Zone”.

It’s secure to prepare dinner a very frozen turkey; nevertheless, it should take a minimum of 50 % longer to prepare dinner fully.

Cook dinner totally

Your turkey is fit for human consumption when it reaches an inside temperature of 165 F. Insert a meals thermometer into the thickest a part of the breast, the innermost arm, and the innermost thigh to examine its inside temperature. The USDA recommends utilizing a meals thermometer, even when the turkey has a temperature probe, to verify it has reached 165 F within the three pre-specified locations.

Stuffing Your Turkey

The USDA recommends in opposition to brining your turkey, as this typically results in bacterial progress. Nonetheless, in case you plan to stuff your turkey, comply with these steps:

  • Put together the moist and dry components for the filling individually and refrigerate till prepared to make use of. Combine the moist and dry components collectively simply earlier than stuffing the chicken cavity.
  • Don’t stuff the entire poultry and refrigerate earlier than cooking.
  • Stuff the turkey liberally, about 3/4 cup stuffing per pound.
  • Instantly place the stuffed, uncooked turkey in an oven no decrease than 325 F.
  • A stuffed turkey will take longer to prepare dinner. When it is completed cooking, insert a meals thermometer into the middle of the filling so it reaches a secure inside temperature of 165 F.
  • Let the cooked turkey relaxation for 20 minutes earlier than eradicating the stuffing.

For extra data on turkey stuffing, go to Turkey Fundamentals. stuffing.

Two hour rule

Do not let your meals sit out too lengthy. Refrigerate all perishable meals at room temperature inside two hours of cooking, or inside one hour if the temperature is 90 F or larger. After two hours, the perishable meals will enter the “Hazard Zone” (40 F to 140 F) the place micro organism can multiply quickly and make the meals unsafe. Take away any meals that has been unnoticed for greater than two hours. Bear in mind the rule: preserve sizzling meals cold and hot meals chilly.

  • Dealing with sizzling meals — Wrap dishes in insulated containers to maintain them above 140 F.
  • Transporting Chilly Meals – Place objects in ice or gel packs within the fridge to maintain them at or under 40 F.

When serving meals to teams, preserve sizzling meals cold and hot meals chilly through the use of crisp dishes or bowls and ice trays. Scorching objects ought to keep above 140 F and chilly objects ought to keep under 40 F.


Retailer leftovers in small shallow containers and refrigerate. Thanksgiving leftovers will be safely eaten within the fridge for as much as 4 days. Leftovers are secure to freeze indefinitely within the fridge, however the very best quality lasts two to 6 months.


For Thanksgiving meals security questions, name the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), electronic mail Jap Time, Monday by way of Friday.

Acquired some final minute turkey day questions? The Meat and Poultry Hotline will likely be open on Thanksgiving Day from 8am to 2pm EST.

Try the USDA FoodKeeper app, which helps scale back meals waste by offering meals and beverage storage data. Entry information releases and different data at USDA’s Meals Security and Inspection Service (FSIS) web site at www.fsis.usda.gov/newsroom. Observe FSIS on Twitter twitter.com/usdafoodsafety or in Spanish at: twitter.com/usdafoodsafe_es.

USDA touches the lives of all People in so many optimistic methods day-after-day. Within the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is reworking America’s meals system with a higher concentrate on extra resilient native and regional meals manufacturing; fairer markets for all producers; making certain entry to secure, wholesome and nutritious meals in all communities; construct new markets and earnings streams for farmers and producers utilizing climate-smart meals and forestry practices; make historic investments in infrastructure and clear power capability in rural America; and making a dedication to fairness throughout the Division by eradicating systemic limitations and making a extra consultant American workforce. For extra data, go to www.usda.gov.


USDA is an equal alternative supplier, employer and lender.

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