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Holiday cooking safety tips

Top tips for preventing food poisoning on Thanksgiving
Top tips for preventing food poisoning on Thanksgiving
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 3:05 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As the holidays approach, many families will fill the kitchen to celebrate. But, there are a few things you may not think about while preparing a Thanksgiving meal.

“You don’t want to get anybody in your family sick, you want to keep them healthy,” Joe Scully, Environmental Supervisor for the Bay County Health Department, said. “So, practice proper food safety.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people get sick every year from food poisoning. On average, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Food poisoning causes nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Symptoms can be mild or very serious. To prevent this, proper food safety should be practiced from start to finish.

“Before you start preparing food make sure you wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds and also when you’re finished make sure you wash your hands,” Scully said.

Unlike our hands, the Food and Drug Administration recommends you to not wash your turkey before cooking.

“The reason for that is you don’t want to be splashing that bacteria across your kitchen and possibly contaminating utensils or cutting boards or things like that,” Scully said.

Once your turkey makes its way to the oven or fryer you need to check its temperature to ensure proper cooking.

“Cook it to 165 degrees, it’s going to kill the bacteria,” Scully said. “Use a food thermometer to make sure it’s done. Don’t rely on just touching it or something like that.”

The CDC also warns to keep food out of the Danger Zone from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

“You want to minimize the time your food is in that danger zone,” Scully said. “After you have your Thanksgiving spread put out, two hours is the most that you want to leave it out.”

Enjoy your Thanksgiving goodies with peace of mind.

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