BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The CDC has some food safety tips to help Marylanders prepare a safe holiday turkey meal and avoid harmful bacteria that could cause food poisoning.

How To Thaw Your Turkey Safely

Turkey should be thawed the following ways:

  • Place turkey in the refrigerator in a container.
  • Place turkey in leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water.
  • Place turkey in the microwave, following the microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions.

Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter, as Bacteria can grow rapidly in the “danger zone” between 40°F and 140°F, according to the CDC.

How To Handle Your Turkey The Right Way

Raw poultry can contain harmful bacteria, so here’s four steps you can use to protect you and your family from food poisoning:

  • Clean – Make sure to wash your hands, utensils, food and counter-tops to to eliminate harmful bacteria.
  • Separate – Make sure to separate all foods to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Cook – Make sure to use a food thermometer to check for a safe temperature hot enough to kill harmful bacteria.
  • Chill – Make sure to refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours, as bacteria can spread if left at room temperature.

How To Cook Stuffing Safely

Harmful bacteria can be found in stuffing if not cooked all the way through , so here’s some steps to thoroughly prepare your stuffing:

  • Cooking stuffing separately from the turkey in a casserole dish makes it easy to be sure it is safely cooked.
  • If you cook stuffing in the turkey, stuffing should be placed in the turkey just before cooking.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure the stuffing’s center reaches 165°F.

If you cooked stuffing in the turkey wait 20 minutes after taking the bird out of the oven before removing the stuffing, allowing it to cook a little more according to the CDC.

How To Cook Your Turkey Safely

Here’s some tips to make sure your turkey is thoroughly cooked and free from bacteria that could cause food poisoning:

  • The oven temperature should be set to at least 325°F.
  • Completely thawed turkey should be placed in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep.
  • Use a food thermometer in the center of the stuffing, thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint to check that it is safely cooked.
  • Turkey should stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing and carving the meat.

For more information on food safety tips for your Holiday meal, click here.

Written By WJZ Apprentice Ju’waun Morgan


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