Turkey safety 101: preparations for Thanksgiving are always hectic but the USDA has offered a few safety tips in order for the celebratory meal to also be safe. Safety experts working for the USDA have put together a list of safety precautions to be mindful of when preparing the special holiday meal.
The USDA specialists warned that one of the first things to be careful with is when the turkey is purchased, as fresh turkeys should not be purchased more than one or two days before people intend to prepare them or rather before the holiday itself. If the turkey is bought earlier than that, safety specialists advise that it should be frozen and then defrosted before preparation.
They have also advised that the turkey should never be washed before cooking. This advice also applies to any kind of meat, in fact. It might seem like a weird piece of advice meant to avoid food poisoning, but experts explain that it is nearly impossible to wash bacteria off of any poultry with water. However the juices that result from washing can end up on other kitchen surfaces as well as on utensils and other food products and they can carry bacteria with them and transfer it to other areas.
It seems that the only secure way of destroying bacteria on the turkey is to cook it in such a way that its internal temperature reaches a required minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The specialists also offer a few tips on how to know when your turkey is cooked.
Apparently the bird is done when it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Tis temperature must be reached when measured by a thermometer in three distinct areas: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the bird’s thigh and the innermost part of its wing. The best way to ensure that such a large animal is well cooked and poses no health threats is to check its temperature by using a food thermometer.
And this might not be the year you want to mess up your turkey, since prices on the birds could be rising a bit this Thanksgiving because of the recent epidemic of bird flu that took place in June. While the National Turkey Federation has stated that there is no reason to worry about the supply of the bird meat, as it had been previously put in storage and frozen as early as March, prices might still go up this year according to the US Agriculture Department, which has predicted a surge in costs as high as 20 percent.
Meanwhile consumers have been encouraged to call the USDA Food Safety Hotline that is open on Thanksgiving day should they have any safety concerns about their turkeys.
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