Is that turkey undercooked? Tips for a safe Thanksgiving meal

FILE - This Nov. 2, 2009, file photo shows a Thanksgiving turkey in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe, File)

FILE – This Nov. 2, 2009, file photo shows a Thanksgiving turkey in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While you may already be dreaming about the food on your table during Thanksgiving, health experts warn that you should take extra precautions now to make sure your guests don’t get sick.

Every year, approximately 48 million people in the United States become ill with a foodborne illness.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is reminding everyone to practice food safety when preparing your Thanksgiving meal.

Follow these food safety tips to prepare meals and keep holiday gatherings free of foodborne illness:

  • Clean: Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before, during and after handling food. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.
  • Separate: Germs that cause illness can spread from raw food to other foods. Use separate cutting boards and keep raw meats and their juices away from fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook: Always check the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry and egg dishes with a food thermometer to ensure the food is cooked to a safe temperature. For more information, please visit the Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature Chart.
  • Chill: Refrigerate leftover foods promptly. When foods are left out unrefrigerated, harmful germs multiply quickly. Discard any food left out more than two hours.
  • Illness: Anyone who has been sick with diarrhea or vomiting should not prepare food for at least 24 hours after symptoms have stopped.

Tips for Preparing and Reheating Turkey

  • Thaw: Allow enough time for a frozen turkey to defrost. Incorrectly thawed turkey may look safe to eat but will be undercooked, allowing illness-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 Fahrenheit. 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 preparing the meal, refrigerate remaining foods and leftover turkey within two hours. Eat leftover turkey, stuffing and gravy within three to four days. Reheat leftover gravy to a rolling boil, and thoroughly reheat other leftovers to 165 degrees.

The symptoms of a foodborne illness include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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