Whether you are cooking for yourself, your family or a whole bunch of people, it is important to be aware of safety issues when thawing, preparing, stuffing and cooking your turkey. A few simple steps can help keep foodborne illness off the menu this Thanksgiving.
- Safe Thawing-Thawing turkeys must be kept out of the "danger zone" temperature (between 40 and 140°F) — this is the temperature range where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly. See Safe Methods for Thawing, (Spanish version).
- Safe Preparation-Bacteria present on raw poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils, and work surfaces as you prepare the turkey. After working with raw poultry, always wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before they touch other foods.
- Safe Stuffing-Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F, possibly resulting in foodborne illness. Follow these steps to safely prepare, cook, remove, and refrigerate stuffing; Spanish language instructions.
- Safe Cooking-Set the oven temperature no lower than 325°F and be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Cooking times will vary. The food thermometer must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. For more information on safe internal temperatures, visit FoodSafety.gov's Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures