Food Safety Tips: How to safely cook your holiday turkey and avoid risk of salmonella

Food Safety Tips: How to safely cook your holiday turkey and avoid risk of salmonella
Posted at 11:18 AM, Nov 21, 2018

Preparing a Thanksgiving meal can be a tough process, especially when it comes to the turkey.

Whether you're a seasoned pro at cooking the holiday bird, or a first timer looking for all the help you can get, the Center for Disease Control wants to remind the public of the proper way to handle raw turkey products to avoid salmonella infections.

The first safety tip is how to thaw your turkey. The CDC says the safest way to thaw a turkey is to either keep it in the refrigerator or in a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes. If you simply thaw your turkey by leaving it on the counter at room temperature, you run the risk of its temperature being unsafe, leading to the risk of bacteria growth.

The next tip is to follow the four steps of food safety: clean, separate, cook, and chill. The raw turkey can contaminate anything it touches. Be sure to wash your hands and surfaces often, do not cross contaminate with other foods, cook at the specified temperature, and refrigerate within two hours.

If you plan on putting stuffing inside your turkey, the CDC says to use a food thermometer. Put the stuffing in the turkey just before cooking. The thermometer should read 165°F at the stuffing's center. This will ensure that there are no surviving bacteria. Wait for 20 minutes after taking the turkey out of the oven before removing the stuffing. 

The CDC says food handling errors and inadequate cooking are the most common problems that lead to poultry-associated foodborne disease outbreaks in the U.S.

For more safety tips, visit