Enjoy a Safe Holiday Feast

Kaitlin Moore, Nutrition, Food Safety & Health Agent

River Valley Extension District

Here are some tips to help ensure you have a safe holiday meal


· Thaw frozen turkey in a refrigerator in its original packaging. The thaw formula is 4-5 lbs. per 24 hours. For example, a 15 lb. frozen bird will take 3-4 full days to thaw in the refrigerator

· Stuff turkey just prior to cooking

· Cook turkey and stuffing to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature is the only indicator that food is cooked for safety

· Keep hot foods above 140 degrees Fahrenheit

· Refrigerate cold foods (40 degrees Fahrenheit) until ready to serve

· Leftovers cool more quickly in shallow containers

· Bring gravy to a boil before re-serving

· Re-heat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit

· Heat or freeze leftovers within 3-4 days

Holiday baking:

Flour is very minimally processed between harvest and retail so it is considered a raw ingredient. Because flour is raw it may contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli or Salmonella that cause food poisoning. Avoid eating batter or dough that contains raw ingredients. Young children are especially susceptible to illness from raw ingredients such as flour or eggs. Keep everyone healthy by fully baking treats before eating them.

It is not safe to heat treat flour at home in the microwave or oven. A microwave or oven heats unevenly, especially if food has many parts and surfaces like flour. As a result, these at-home heat treatments may not effectively kill all bacteria. Proper cooking or baking is the only way to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli or Salmonella.

More information can be found on fightbac.org

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