The Nebraska Regional Poison Center offers some Do’s and Don’ts to guide your holiday planning. Don’t let food poisoning ruin your Thanksgiving celebration. Do keep this guide handy to use as a reference.
• DO ask all kitchen helpers to wash their hands using warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
• DO keep turkey in its original wrapping, refrigerated until ready to cook.
• DO defrost a frozen turkey by refrigeration or cold running water.
• DO allow one day for every 4-5 pounds to defrost in the refrigerator. In a cold-water bath, change the water every 30 minutes. A 24-pound turkey may take up to 6 days to thaw so plan accordingly.
• DO use a meat thermometer to check if turkey is done. The turkey should cook until the internal temperature reaches a safe minimum of 165˚ F.
• DO store the turkey and stuffing separately.
• DO store leftover turkey in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days.
• DO store leftover stuffing and gravy in the refrigerator and use within 1-2 days.
• DO go to the Butterball website at www.butterball.com , call 1-800-BUTTERBALL or text 844-877-3456 to chat with one of their turkey experts for other tips and tricks. You can even ask “Alexa” to “Ask Butterball” a question on Alexa enabled devices.
• DON’T defrost a turkey at room temperature. Bacteria can multiply to unsafe numbers on outer layers before inner layers have defrosted. These bacteria can cause illness in you or your guests.
• DON’T leave an uncooked thawed turkey out of the refrigerator longer than two hours.
• DON’T set your oven lower than 325˚ F.
• DON’T prepare food if you are sick or have a nose or eye infection.
• DON’T leave leftovers out on the counter longer than two hours.
• DON’T re-freeze a completely thawed uncooked turkey.
• DON’T stuff turkeys as it makes it difficult for the internal temperature to reach 165°F within a safe period of time. If you must stuff your turkey, stuff it lightly before cooking and leave room for the oven to cook the interior of the turkey and stuffing.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center is a free community service to the public.
Call 1-800-222-1222 to speak directly with a Registered Nurse 24/7/365.