According to the manager of the Delaware Division of Public Health, an estimated 48 million cases of food-borne illness occur each year in the U.S. DPH is offering Delawareans tips to help prepare holiday meals in a safe way.
Plan your menu before the holiday:
- If you plan to buy a fresh turkey, purchase it only 1-2 days prior to cooking and make sure it remains refrigerated until ready to cook.
- Avoid fresh pre-stuffed turkeys because harmful bacteria can grow in the stuffing.
- Be sure you have a roasting pan large enough to hold your turkey and a food thermometer.
How to thaw:
- In the refrigerator: allow approximately 24 hours per 4 -5 pounds of turkey. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
- Under cold running water (70F or below): completely submerge bird under running water in the original wrapper; cook immediately after thawing - do not refreeze.
- In the microwave: Remove outside wrapping and place on a microwave-safe dish. Do not refreeze or refrigerate after thawing in the microwave.
- Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey preferably in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F throughout the bird. Do not depend on the color of the meat to determine if the bird is thoroughly cooked. The meat of smoked turkey is always pink.
- Any turkey, stuffing, or gravy needs refrigeration within two hours of cooking. Use separate shallow containers. Use leftover turkey and stuffing within seven days or freeze these foods.
- Reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165 F or until hot and steaming.
For more information, visit www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm092815.htm