How to Prepare a Safe Turkey

How to Prepare a Safe Turkey

( – The big day is upon us, and if you’re like most people, you want a drama-free day with family and friends around a table prepared with a delicious turkey

dinner. Whether you’re preparing a meal for two or dozens of people, there are a few steps you can take to ensure a safe experience. Many people aren’t aware of the hazards that can cause food-borne illness, and no one wants that agony during the holidays.

After you thaw your turkey, it’s important to remember raw food is full of bacteria that can make people sick. The USDA advises against rinsing your turkey because it could cross-contaminate surfaces and spread bacteria. The water could easily splash harmful bacteria onto various surfaces, inadvertently exposing you, your family and your friends to them. When you cook the turkey, the heat will kill any harmful bacteria, so there’s no need to rinse before you prepare, stuff, or cook the bird.

Additionally, make sure to sanitize all surfaces that come in contact with raw turkey or its drippings. Never reuse plates, cutting boards or utensils without first cleaning them with soap and water, and always wash hands thoroughly after handling raw food.

Many people love to stuff the turkey with dressing. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), baking your stuffing ahead of time, separately, ensures it will cook thoroughly. If you stuff the turkey and cook them together, the CDC suggests waiting 20 minutes after removing the bird from the oven before removing the stuffing. The additional resting time allows the dressing to cook a little longer inside the turkey. Be sure to measure the internal temperature of the stuffing, checking that it’s at least 165 degrees and safe to eat.

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