A Secret Ingredient for Thanksgiving Success: Food Thermometer
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Many home chefs find the Thanksgiving turkey a daunting annual project. But if yours turns out dry and overcooked, there is a silver lining - it probably won't make anyone sick.
Undercooked poultry, as well as cooked poultry allowed to cool too long, is notorious for harboring the kinds of bacteria that can deliver a most unwelcome holiday surprise: Stomach cramps, headache, fever, and diarrhea.
A simple tool - a food thermometer - can help ensure that your turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat needed to ensure that your feast is free from Salmonella, Campylobacter, and any other microscopic hitchhikers that can make your guests ill.
Every year, millions of Americans get sick from eating foods contaminated with dangerous viruses and bacteria that cause anything from nausea to hospitalization. It is especially important to practice safe food handling techniques when preparing meals for the elderly, young children, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women - all of whom are at greatest risk for food poisoning.
So, this holiday season, follow these tips for a safer holiday feast:
- Wash your hands before and after preparing food.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before serving them.
- Keep poultry and raw meats away from other food in the kitchen.
- Wash utensils, cutting boards and kitchen surfaces with hot, soapy water after they touch raw meat and poultry.
- Eat cooked food promptly, and refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours after cooking.
- Discard any turkey, stuffing or gravy left at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
- Keep sick people out of the kitchen.
For more tips on safe food handling, visit cchealth.org/foodborne.
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