Keep Foodborne Illness Off the Holiday Menu
For Release: Nov. 22, 2016 – Jamie Dukes, Office of Communications (405) 271-5601
The holiday season brings friends, family and lots of good food. From cooking the turkey to homemade pies, it is easy to forget safe food handling practices during the hustle and bustle. Every year, approximately 48 million people become ill with a foodborne illness. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds everyone to practice food safety when preparing holiday foods.
OSDH recommends the following food safety tips to prepare the turkey and keep holiday gatherings free of foodborne illness:
Tips for Preparing and Reheating Turkey
Thaw: Allow enough time for a frozen turkey to defrost. Incorrectly thawed turkey can look safe to eat but actually will be undercooked, allowing disease-causing germs to survive inside. For more information about how to properly thaw a turkey based on weight and time in the refrigerator, in cold water, or using the microwave, please visit Safe Holiday Cooking.
Cook: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the turkey is at least 165 degrees. For stuffed turkeys, the internal temperature of the stuffing must reach 165 degrees before it is safe to eat; however, the safest way to cook stuffing is to cook in a separate casserole dish.
Store: After the meal, refrigerate remaining foods and leftover turkey within two hours. Eat leftover turkey and stuffing within three to four days, and gravy within one to two days. Reheat leftover gravy to a rolling boil, and thoroughly reheat other leftovers to 165 degrees.
For more safe holiday food preparation details, please visit the OSDH Acute Disease Service “Food Safety and Foodborne Diseases” website at http://ads.health.ok.gov/