Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety at home
podcast series. These podcasts were designed with you in mind - the consumer - who
purchases and prepares meat, poultry and processed egg products
for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging from safe storage, handling,
and preparation of meat, poultry and processed egg products to the importance of keeping
foods safe during a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” This is Gertie Hurley with the Food Safety and
Inspection Service. I’m your host for this segment. With me today is Kathy Bernard,
technical information specialist from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. We’re going
to talk today about holiday cooking. Kathy will remind us about the safe way to
prepare our holiday feasts.
Hello, Kathy. Welcome back to the show.
Thank you, Gertie. I’m pleased to be here.
What steps should cooks take to make sure the meat or poultry they are
cooking for holiday parties is safely cooked?
Meat or poultry dishes should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to
destroy foodborne pathogens that may have been present either on the surface of the
product or blended into the product. The only way you can tell for sure is to check
the temperature with a food thermometer.
If, for example, you’re roasting a turkey that has a pop-up indicator, do you
still need to use a food thermometer to check the temperature?
Yes. We still recommend that you use a food thermometer to ensure that the turkey has
reached a safe internal temperature of 165 °F. We also advise that you cook stuffing
outside the bird in a casserole to at least 165 °F.
What happens when food is not cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature?
Undercooking allows bacteria to survive and possibly cause foodborne illness.
It is all about the food safety basics of Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill, right,
Yes, Gertie. That means primarily washing your hands with warm soap and water before
and after handling raw meat or raw poultry products so they don't cross-contaminate.
It also means washing the counter tops or cutting boards with hot, soapy water before
or after you have prepared the meat or poultry.
This means cleaning the knives or utensils that touched a raw poultry or meat product.
It means not putting cooked food on unclean platters that held raw meat and not
letting cooked food come in contact with raw meat or their juices. We should also
remember not to leave cooked food out too long.
Yes, Gertie. Once food has been served it should be returned to the refrigerator
unless it’s kept in a chafing dish to keep it hot or it’s kept on ice to keep it cold.
This brings in the two-hour rule, right?
Yes. No food product should be left out more than two hours after cooking or after
And your parting words to us?
This holiday season, we encourage everyone to be food safe. For more information on
safe holiday cooking, contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.
You can also get your holiday food safety questions answered 24 hours a day by our
virtual representative at www.AskKaren.gov.
That’s it for this week. We’ve been talking to Kathy Bernard from the USDA Meat and
Poultry Hot¬line. Thank you so much, Kathy, for reminding us about the safe way to
prepare our holiday feasts. I’m Gertie Hurley and I’d like to thank you for joining us
for this episode of “Food Safety at Home.” And remember, “Be Food Safe.”
Well, that’s all for this time. Thanks for joining us today for another episode of
food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free meat and poultry hotline
at 1-888-mphotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our virtual representative
"ask karen" at www.askkaren.gov .
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments to
Thanks for tuning in.