Dish Up Safe Food for Thanksgiving

To ensure that Thanksgiving is as safe as possible, take some tips from the Department of Health and Human Services.

With Thanksgiving only hours away, food safety may be one part of the preparation that families overlook.

The Department of Health and Human Services has released some tips for ensuring that your food will be as safe as it is delicious.

Keep Clean.

We all know it's important to wash your hands prior to working with food, but it's equally as important to keep surfaces clean. In addition to clean hands and surfaces, a way to keep foods clean is to keep them separated. Make sure food is sealed in containers, especially poultry, fish, and meat. Wash raw fruits and vegetables before preparing them for the dinner table.

Pay attention to cooking temperature.

Turkeys should be cooked at am minimum temperature of 325 F to ensure that it is cooked all the way through. When cooking a turkey, check the internal temperature. It should be at least 165 F at its thickest part. The safest way to cook stuffing is to do so separately. If your recipe calls for any kind of meat, the internal heat should also reach 165 F.

Leftovers are important, too.

What Thanksgiving is complete without leftovers? Within two hours, get turkey or poultry leftovers in the refrigerator. Debone the poultry. Store the meat and poultry in different containers. Leftover stuffing and gravy only have a shelf-life of two days, if refrigerated. And, don't eat meat from the refrigerator after four days. However, if you freeze your meat leftovers in sealed containers, they will be good for up to three months. When consuming them after freezing, make sure they are heated all the way through.

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