ENVIRONMENTAL DIRECTOR'S NOTES
When friends and family sit down to enjoy that special holiday feast, be sure they do not end up with food poisoning.
Cooking food to a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (F) kills most bacteria that cause food poisoning. Keep cooked foods that are not served immediately at a holding temperature between 140 degrees F and 165 degrees F. Do not leave food unrefrigerated longer than two hours or the chances of bacterial growth increase.
Start early and thaw the turkey in
A 20-pound turkey takes about three
days to thaw completely.
To be sure the turkey is thawed
completely, check to see that no ice appears
in the inner cavity and the meat is soft.
Be cautious: if the inner cavity is
still frozen or even partially frozen when
the turkey is put in the oven, the outside
of the bird will finish cooking before the
inside and the inside temperature will not
be hot enough to destroy disease-causing
If the stuffing is mixed the day
before the holiday meal, premix only the dry
Mixing moist ingredients ahead of
time offers the opportunity for bacteria to
grow. It is safer to cook the stuffing
However, if you do stuff the bird, do
so just before cooking it.
Stuff it loosely so the stuffing
Insert a meat thermometer into the
center of the thickest part of the thigh,
breast, or stuffing.
Temperatures should register 180
degrees F for a whole turkey, 165 degrees F
for the stuffing and 175 degrees F for
boneless turkey roasts.
After the meal, immediately
refrigerate leftovers such as meat,
dressing, gravy or soups in a small shallow
Letting these foods sit several hours
at room temperature allows for the growth of
Refrigerate cold stuffing and other
items separately from the bird.
$ It is important to serve leftovers either very cold (directly from the refrigerator) or very hot (reheated to 165 degrees F).
For more information call the environmental division of the Jasper County Health at 618-783-5206.
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