Food Safe Families’ Tips For A Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Family and friends sharing a meal around the table is pure joy!  I put lots of time and love into the meal I’m serving and I want everyone at my table to savor and enjoy it.  I can’t imagine making anyone sick from it! 

However this happens to many during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving.  It’s a large meal with a lot going on (a big turkey, a variety of sides, appetizers and desserts), so it can be overwhelming trying to prepare, cook and time food perfectly in order to serve it together.   To ensure that everything you put on your table is safe for family and friends, the Ad Council, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, FDA and CDC, as part of their Food Safe Families campaign, is sharing important reminders for food safely.

Top 10 List For A Safe Thanksgiving

  1. Purchase approximately 1 pound of fresh or frozen turkey per person.
  2. Buying a frozen turkey?  Thaw your turkey safely in the refrigerator; allow 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds.  Buying a fresh turkey? Purchase your turkey only 1-2 days before you plan to cook or freeze it.  The sell by date on a turkey just tells the store how long they can display the turkey for sale, not how long it will last in your home refrigerator.
  3.  Remove the giblet package from the turkey cavity before cooking.
  4. Don’t wash your turkey before cooking it. Bacteria can spread to other foods and kitchen surfaces.
  5. Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F when roasting the turkey.  For optimum safety, cook stuffing outside the turkey.
  6. Have a food thermometer available.  If using an oven-proof thermometer, place it in the thickest part of the inner-thigh of the turkey at the start of the cooking cycle.
  7. It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state.  Cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet package during the cooking time.
  8. A whole turkey is safely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F, as measured with a food thermometer in the inner most part of the thigh and wing, and the thickest part of the breast.  Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set.
  9. Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Refrigerate within 2 hours and use them within 3-4 days or freeze and use within 2-6 months for best quality. Reheat all leftovers to 165°F.
  10. Need more help?  Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854. Open Thanksgiving Day from 10:00am- 2:00pm EST. Online help? Ask Karen, our virtual representative,

Watch this 2 minute video to learn more>

and download the Food Safety Tool Kit>













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