Enjoy a Thanksgiving Free from Foodborne Illness

November 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, questions are already popping up about how to safety prepare the two stars of the Thanksgiving feast: the turkey and stuffing. Here are a few tips:


If you purchase a frozen turkey, be sure to thaw the bird adequately before cooking either in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.

  • In the refrigerator (set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below): Allow approximately 24 hours for every four to five pounds of bird. For example, a 12- to 16-pound turkey would require three to four days and a 16- to 20-pound bird would take four to five days to thaw.
  • In cold water: Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound. A 12- to 16-pound turkey will take about six to eight hours and a 16- to 20-pound bird needs eight to 10 hours. Seal the turkey securely in plastic to make sure no water leaks in and use only cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes and cook the turkey immediately after thawing.
  • In the microwave: Check your microwave owner’s manual for the size turkey that will fit in your oven, minutes per pound and power level to use for thawing. Remove all outside wrapping from the turkey, including the wire that holds the legs together. Place on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices. Cook the turkey immediately after thawing and do not refreeze or refrigerate a raw turkey after thawing in the microwave.


To make sure your stuffing is safe and cooked to a proper temperature, stuffing the turkey is not recommended. For more even heating, cook the stuffing separately and use a meat thermometer to ensure the center of the stuffing reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit before removing from the oven.

If you do stuff your turkey, do it just before roasting and stuff it loosely. Turkey and stuffing are safe to eat when they reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Source: homefoodsafety.org

Entry filed under: Managing your health, Safety, To Your Health.

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