DALLAS — Share the love, share the thanks, share the pumpkin pie.
But one thing families do not want to share on Thanksgiving is illness.
And with family members all gathered around the table sharing the turkey and all the delicious sides, the possibility of foodborne sickness is increased.
The United States Department of Agriculture offers friendly reminders each year for the cooks in the kitchen on how to keep their dinner safe and bacteria free.
Washing your hands and utensils are obvious measures but the USDA advises against washing the turkey. Though the older members of your family may have scrubbed the turkey before cooking it in years gone by, the USDA says washing the turkey in a sink can cause bacteria from the raw bird to splash across your kitchen and countertops causing cross-contamination.
Instead, using a thermometer to make certain your turkey reaches a temperature of at least 165 degrees internally ensures it will be safe to eat.
Some other tips from the USDA website:
- Thaw your turkey in a refrigerator, not on a countertop or in hot water.
- Thaw for 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of turkey.
- Do not use any plates or utensils that may have contacted the raw turkey or its juices.
- Stuffing a turkey is not recommended.
- All perishable foods should be refrigerated within two hours of being cooked.
- Reheat all leftovers to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.