Thanksgiving Food Safety

November 20, 2018 11:01 AM

(ABC 6 News) -- Whether you're heading over the river and through the woods to grandma's house or doing the cooking at home, there are a number of possible dangers hiding in your Thanksgiving feast you'll want to prepare for so you don't spend Black Friday in the emergency room.

One of the most important food safety steps to keep in mind is keeping food at the proper temperature. Mayo Clinic Health System clinical dietitian Kjersten Nett said properly thawing a turkey can make or break your Turkey Day. 


The best way to thaw a turkey is to put it in the refrigerator one to two days ahead of preparing it, Nett said. If that's not an option, another way to thaw it is to put the turkey in a plastic bag and put it in cold water, although that method comes with additional risks.

"This will be a slightly faster process but it's a little bit more dangerous though too just because the turkey is in a cool environment but not as consistent as if it's in a refrigerator," she said.

When preparing the stuffing, Nett said cooking it outside the bird is a much safer option, since the stuffing may not cook all the way through even if the turkey has reached the proper internal temperature.

After the big meal, it can be tempting to leave food sit on the counter and come back to it later, but Nett said doing so increases the risk of getting sick. She said food should be put away promptly after eating.

When asked if it's safe to cook a 20-pound turkey in a microwave as suggested by a viral social media message, Nett laughed and said: "you don't microwave that big of a turkey."


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