Orange County Insight November 2022

Stay Food Safe this Thanksgiving Holiday

By: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Keep your stomach full of turkey and free from foodborne illness this Thanksgiving holiday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds us all that it ’ s important to remember the steps to food safety during America ’ s biggest meal. “ While the four steps to food safety — clean, separate, cook and chill — are important every day and at every meal, they are particularly significant on Thanksgiving, ” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary Sandra Eskin. “ There will likely be many guests and many delicious dishes at your holiday table, but you don ’ t want to invite any foodborne pathogens. Follow those four steps — in particular remember to use a food thermometer — and your Thanksgiving dinner will be a safe one. ”

Stuffing your Turkey

USDA recommends against stuffing your turkey since this often leads to bacteria growth. However, if you plan to stuff your turkey, follow these steps:

• Prepare the wet and dry ingredients for the stuffing separately from each other and refrigerate until ready to use. Mix wet and dry ingredients just before filling the bird ’ s cavity.

• Do not stuff whole poultry and leave in the refrigerator before cooking.

• Stuff the turkey loosely — about 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound.

• Immediately place the stuffed, raw turkey in an oven set no lower than 325 F.

• A stuffed turkey will take longer to cook. Once it has finished cooking, place a food thermometer in the center of the stuffing to ensure it has reached a safe internal temperature of 165 F.

Let the cooked turkey stand 20 minutes before removing the stuffing.

The Two - Hour Rule

Don ’ t leave your food sitting out too long! Refrigerate all perishable foods sitting out at room temperature within two hours of being cooked, or one hour if the temperature is 90 F or above. After two hours, perishable food will enter the “ Danger Zone ” (between 40 F and 140 F), which is where bacteria can multiply quickly and cause the food to become unsafe. Discard all foods that have been left out for more than two hours. Remember the rule — keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

• Transporting hot foods — Wrap dishes in insulated containers to keep their temperature above 140 F.

• Transporting cold foods — Place items in a cooler with ice or gel packs to keep them at or below 40 F.

When serving food to groups, keep hot food hot and keep cold food cold by using chafing dishes or crock pots and ice trays. Hot items should remain above 140 F and cold items should remain below 40 F.


Store leftovers in small shallow containers and put them in the refrigerator. Thanksgiving leftovers are safe to eat up to four days in the refrigerator. In the freezer, leftovers are safely frozen indefinitely but will keep best quality from two to six months.

Page 8 | November, 2022

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