Food safety is a top priority when you’re in the kitchen. Just a few simple steps will help make sure your food is ready for the table and you and your loved ones stay healthy.
It’s simple, really! When cooking with turkey, as with all fresh products, consumers should wash their hands, surfaces and cooking utensils, avoid cross-contamination with other foods, cook food to a proper internal temperature and refrigerate leftovers promptly to eliminate food safety risks.
When in doubt, following the Core Four Food Safety Practices will help protect you from foodborne illnesses. Just remember, Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill!
Clean - Hands and Surfaces
In the kitchen, handwashing is a critical step in preparing healthy, safe meals and preventing foodborne illnesses. Wash hands with soap vigorously before and after handling raw poultry.
Follow these steps from the CDC’s Handwashing Guide to wash your hands correctly every time:
Wash used cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.
Separate – Prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen
Cook – Cook turkey to internal temperature of 165°F
Use a meat thermometer to verify that your turkey has reached the safest internal temperature of 165°F. For a whole turkey, the temperature should be checked in at least three places: the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing and the thickest part of the breast. If you stuffed your turkey, the innermost part of the stuffing should also reach 165°F. When cooking turkey burgers, use an instant-read food thermometer inserted into several parts of the patty – including the thickest part. Visit the Temperature Matters page for helpful meat thermometer guidelines.
Never place cooked turkey on an unwashed plate that was used to hold raw meat. Sanitize meat thermometers in-between tests.
Chill – Refrigerate promptly and properly
Refrigerate perishable foods as soon as possible. According to USDA guidelines, discard any uneaten food after being left out for more than two hours.