Jasper County
Health Department
106 E. Edwards St.
Newton, IL 62448
Mon. - Fri.
8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Late appointments for other services will be scheduled as needed.
(618) 783-4436

(618) 783-4154

(618) 783-5206
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When friends and family sit down to enjoy that special holiday feast, be sure they do not end up with food poisoning.

 Be sure to follow three very important rules: Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.  Keep everything in the kitchen clean.  And be sure to wash your hands frequently. 

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.

 Special thawing and cooking guidelines apply to turkeys.         

$          Start early and thaw the turkey in the refrigerator.  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 bacteria.

$          If the stuffing is mixed the day before the holiday meal, premix only the dry ingredients.  Mixing moist ingredients ahead of time offers the opportunity for bacteria to grow. It is safer to cook the stuffing separately.  However, if you do stuff the bird, do so just before cooking it.  Stuff it loosely so the stuffing cooks thoroughly.

$          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 container.  Letting these foods sit several hours at room temperature allows for the growth of disease-bearing bacteria.  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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