Proper food handling and cooking procedures are even more important this Thanksgiving because of a nationwide salmonella outbreak affecting a variety of turkey products. Minnesota Health Department epidemiologist Shawn Buuck says thoroughly cook the turkey, using a meat thermometer to measure temperatures inside the bird. “If folks are cooking whole turkeys, it’s a pretty big piece of food to be cooking, so it can be hard to kind of get that all the way up to temp,” he says. “So we want people to try to cook that to a temperature of 165 degrees, [which] will kill off the salmonella that’s in there, if it happens to be in there.”
And Buuck says avoid cross-contamination by “washing things like cutting boards or your counters with warm, soapy water after they come into any contact with raw turkey; and then also being careful about washing your hands before and after preparing or eating food.”
Buuck says don’t thaw your turkey on the countertop. Do that in the refrigerator or in the sink, changing water frequently.
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