Happy Thanksgiving from the ASI family!

The Thanksgiving meal is the largest that many cooks prepare each year and educating yourself on the proper food safety practices will help prevent foodborne illness.

ASI has made it easy by putting everything you need to stay safe this Thanksgiving in one place.

Lets Talk Turkey Safety:

1. Thaw Your Turkey Safely

  • In the refrigerator in a container;
  • In a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water (change the water every 30 minutes); or
  • In the microwave, following the microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions.

Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. A thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, its temperature becomes unsafe. Bacteria can grow rapidly in the “danger zone” between 40°F and 140°F.

2. Handle Your Turkey the Right Way

Raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches with harmful bacteria. Follow the four steps to food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill—to prevent the spread of bacteria to your food, family, and friends.

  • Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling the turkey.
  • Do not wash raw turkey. During washing, turkey juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils, and countertops.
  • Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey.
  • Never place cooked food or fresh produce on a plate, cutting board, or other surfaces that previously held raw turkey.
  • Wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing the turkey and before you prepare the next item.

3. Cook Stuffing Thoroughly

Cooking stuffing separately from the turkey in a casserole dish makes it easy to be sure it is thoroughly cooked. If you cook stuffing in the turkey, put the stuffing in the turkey just before cooking.

With either cooking method, use a food thermometer to make sure the stuffing’s center reaches 165°F. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F and may then cause food poisoning. If you cook stuffing in the turkey, wait 20 minutes after taking the bird out of the oven before removing the stuffing; this allows it to cook a little more. Learn more about how to prepare stuffing safely.

4. Cook Your Turkey Thoroughly

Set the oven temperature to at least 325°F. Place the completely thawed turkey in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the turkey. Use a food thermometer to make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F. Check by inserting a food thermometer into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. Even if your turkey has a pop-up temperature indicator, you should still use a food thermometer to check that it is safely cooked.

Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat. Learn more about safe minimum cooking temperatures and how to use a food thermometer for turkey and other foods.

Turkey Cooking Safety:

Stuffing & Food Safety:

Regionally in the U.S., it’s called by various names: stuffing, filling, or dressing. The ingredients used in stuffing are often regional as well. Usually based on a bread mixture, other ingredients such as grains, pasta, fruits, vegetables, shellfish, sausage, giblets, and nuts are also used. The stuffing is then spooned into the cavity of whole poultry or a pocket cut into a solid piece of meat, or spread on a flat piece of meat and then rolled. Because stuffing is an excellent medium for bacterial growth, it’s important to handle it safely and cook it to a safe minimum internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer. Here are some common questions consumers ask.

  • How do you safely prepare stuffing?
  • How do you safely cook stuffing? 
  • Is it safe to put hot stuffing into a poultry cavity?
  • Is pre-stuffed poultry and meat safe to buy?
  • Is it safe to cook a stuffed turkey in an oven cooking bag?
  • When should you remove stuffing from a hot, cooked turkey or chicken?

Answer these questions and many more… CLICK HERE

Take Care Of Leftovers:

The bacteria Clostridium perfringens grows in cooked foods left at room temperature. It is the second most common bacterial cause of food poisoning. The major symptoms are vomiting and abdominal cramps within 6 to 24 hours after eating.

  • Clostridium perfringens outbreaks occur most often in November and December.
  • Many of these outbreaks have been linked to foods commonly served during the holidays, such as turkey and roast beef.

Refrigerate leftovers at 40°F or colder as soon as possible and within 2 hours of preparation to prevent food poisoning. Slice or divide big cuts of meat, such as a roast turkey, into small quantities for refrigeration so they can cool quickly. Reheat all leftovers to at least 165°F before serving.

  • Use refrigerated turkey, stuffing, and gravy within 3 to 4 days.
  • If freezing leftovers, use within 2 to 6 months for best quality.