(KWWL) – Thanksgiving is almost here, which means many of you are making grocery lists and pulling out recipes for the big day.
But before you prepare your annual feast, you might want to consider a few safety guidelines.
This may seem like an obvious one, but the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says it’s very important. Start your food preparation with clean hands and cooking utensils. If you handle raw meat and poultry, wash your hands again. Lather them with soap and running water for 20 seconds.
It’s also a good idea to keep surfaces clean and sanitized if they’ve been contaminated by raw meat or poultry juices. Start with soapy water, and then kill any remaining bacteria with a chlorine bleach mixture.
Keep raw turkey away from your tasty sides. If possible, prepare ready-to-eat foods before you handle raw meat or poultry.
Your prized bird will be in the oven for hours, however, the USDA reminds you to make sure it’s fully cooked all the way through before serving.
While your turkey may appear to be golden and brown, you should always use a food thermometer to ensure your turkey has reached the safe minimum internal temperature.
A good rule of thumb is when the thickest part of your turkey breast has reached 165 degrees, it should be safe to eat.
The USDA says when cooked food is out at room temperature, it only takes two hours to become unsafe. They remind everyone to chill your food if you don’t plan on eating it right away.
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) says Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. It even ranks before Christmas.
In 2017, fire departments responded to about 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving. Unattended cooking was by far the leading cause of those fires.
Here are their suggestions ahead of Turkey Day:
For more information about both of these topics, visit USDA’s website or NFPA’s website.