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.” Patrick O’Leary from USDA and Kathy Bernard,
technical information specialist from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, will discuss
O’Leary: The USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline calls them “turkey basics” –
the expert’s guidelines for safely storing, handling and preparing the holiday bird, and
avoiding foodborne illness.
Bernard: We get a lot of calls around the holidays because people are
preparing turkeys, either for the first time or for a larger group than usual. So we give
them the basics, which begin with Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill. Keep hands and utensils
clean; separate raw from cooked foods; cook to a safe temperature; and chill leftovers
O’Leary: A fresh turkey will stay safe in the fridge for one to two days.
A frozen turkey should be stored in the freezer until it’s time to thaw.
Bernard: The best way to thaw a frozen turkey is in the refrigerator.
It’ll take about 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of bird. You can speed the thawing by placing
the wrapped turkey in a sink of cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. You can
thaw a smaller turkey in the microwave oven, but then you should cook that turkey immediately
after thawing because some of the areas do start to cook during the defrost process.
O’Leary: Set the oven no lower than 325 degrees, and have your food thermometer
Bernard: Thorough cooking will destroy any harmful bacteria that might
be in the turkey or the stuffing.
O’Leary: The safest way to cook stuffing is outside the bird.
Bernard: We recommend cooking stuffing in a casserole at 325 degrees
until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
O’Leary: If you decide to stuff the turkey, stuff it loosely and check
the temperature of the stuffing and the turkey with a food thermometer.
Bernard: Make sure the turkey reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit
by checking the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and the wing and
the thickest part of the breast. The stuffing should also reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
O’Leary: The finished turkey should sit out no longer than two hours.
Refrigerate leftovers promptly in shallow containers.
For more information, call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. Or ask
a food safety question at AskKaren.gov. For the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, I’m Pat O’Leary.
Consumers can get last minute information from the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline on safe
cooking of turkey and other foods on Thanksgiving Day from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern
Standard Time. Call toll-free at 1-888-MPHotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
That's it for this week. We have heard turkey basics from USDA’s Patrick O’Leary and Kathy
Bernard from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. 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.