RMPDC Provides Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving

November 23, 2015

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Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to gather, express gratitude and enjoy a meal together. Unfortunately, this time of year is also associated with an increased risk of food poisoning. This Thanksgiving, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) and the Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Center (RMPDC) encourage everyone to take a few simple food safety precautions to prevent food poisoning.

Prepare

  • Keep meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate in your grocery bags, in the refrigerator and while preparing the meal
  • Wash your hands, kitchen surfaces, utensils and cutting boards frequently, especially after handling or preparing uncooked food
  • Wash produce, but not eggs, meat or poultry
  • Use the microwave, cold water or refrigerator method to defrost your frozen meat or poultry. Do not thaw on the counter and be sure to cook immediately after thawing

Cook

  • The bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest in the ‘danger zone’ which is between 40 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use a food thermometer to check if the meat is heated high enough to kill harmful bacteria. Turkey should be cooked until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • The safest way to cook stuffing is outside of the turkey in a separate baking dish. However, if you choose to cook inside the turkey, stuff it just before cooking and use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the stuffing immediately after the turkey is finished cooking and place in a separate dish

Store

  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to reduce the risk of bacterial growth
  • Prevent cross-contamination by completely securing and covering foods in the refrigerator
  • Consume or freeze leftovers within 3-4 days

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 1 in 6 people contract food poisoning each year. Symptoms typically appear within hours of eating contaminated food and often include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Food poisoning symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. If you do suspect food poisoning, contact the RMPDC Help Line at 1.800.222.1222. Expert, free and confidential information and treatment advice is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week including holidays.