Updated 11/20/2011 06:32 PM
Thanksgiving food safety tips
Thanksgiving preparations are underway in many people's homes. One of the best ways to be ready for the holiday is to make sure you know proper food safety procedures. Our Melissa Kakareka tells us some tips that can help keep your family safe at the dinner table.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
CONKLIN, N.Y. -- Thanksgiving is all about the food. But if you aren't careful, you could be serving something unexpected at the dinner table.
Julie Lovelass said, "Salmonella is really where the problem is."
Lovelass is the Director of the Maines Food and Paper Service's 'Keeping it Kleen' Food Safety Awareness Campaign.
With the holidays right around the corner, she says it’s vital that people don't forget the basics of food preparation.
"During the holidays, there is so much going on, you have company coming over, people come home, so sometimes the practice of food safety gets lost, so it’s at this time that you have to make sure you are washing your hands, sanitizing your counter, making sure the food you are cooking is up to temperature," said Lovelass.
The most common mistake people make is letting their turkey defrost on the counter. The bird should be thawed in the refrigerator and cooked to 165 degrees in the oven. And it's best to cook your stuffing separately to make sure it reaches a safe temperature.
"Traditionally we've always put stuffing into the turkey, but it’s a dangerous practice because it sits in the center of the turkey, it doesn't get up to the right temperature that you need it to be," said Lovelass.
Of course food safety doesn't end just because the meal is over. You should always make sure you put your leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of serving dinner.
"The rule of thumb should be if food has been left out for more than two hours, you should discard it because that gives it the opportunity to reach those unsafe temperatures," explained Lovelass.
A few tips to make sure that your holiday feast is both delicious and safe.