Experts offer advice on how to prepare food safely for the upcoming holidays


WASHINGTON, (WDVM) — The holidays are just around the corner, and something most people look forward to is the food, but before residents get to cooking and eating, the United States Department of Agriculture, wants to make sure residents avoid foodborne illnesses.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year millions of Americans get sick from foodborne illness, resulting in over 100,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Experts say one of the main causes of this illness is undercooked food. 

Experts say that any time someone is cooking meat, the only way to make sure that it is fully cooked and safe to eat is with a food thermometer.

The USDA says that — specifically with turkey — people should use the food thermometer in three places and make sure it reaches 165 degrees. Residents should check the biggest part of the breast, the innermost part of the thigh and the innermost part of the wing.

Thawing out food properly also plays a role in food safety. The USDA says never leave it out on the counter and don’t just sit it in hot water.

“If you’re getting a frozen turkey you want to make sure to plan ahead and have enough time to safely thaw their Turkey, the safest way to thaw the turkey is in the refrigerator, and you need to allow 24 hours for every four to five pounds of turkey for it to safely off once it’s totally thought it’s safe in the fridge for one to two days,” said Laura Scott, a food safety expert with the USDA.

Experts are also reminding the public to:

  • Clean: Wash your hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate items: Do not use the same cutting board or bowls for meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • Chill: Use a refrigerator promptly. Do not leave food out for more than two hours.

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