Media Release

October 6, 2011

Think food safety this Thanksgiving weekend

The Regional Municipality of York offers tips for a safe and festive meal
NEWMARKET - The Regional Municipality of York reminds residents to use safe food handling techniques when purchasing and preparing food for family and friends this Thanksgiving.
Follow these tips to reduce the risk of food-borne illness, also known as food poisoning:
When buying a turkey
• Check the “best before” date on fresh turkeys to determine their freshness
• Purchase a cold fresh turkey no more than two days before cooking and immediately refrigerate at a temperature of 4°C (40°F) or lower 
• Place the fresh turkey in a separate bag to avoid cross-contaminating
• Purchase a frozen turkey at least four to six days before cooking to allow time for proper thawing
When thawing a frozen turkey
• Refrigerate the turkey in a large container or platter to prevent juices from contaminating other food
• Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator several days before roasting ??" allow 24 hours of defrosting time for every 2.5 kg (five pounds) of turkey (e.g. five hours/lb or 10 hours/kg)
• Do not thaw the turkey on the countertop or at room temperature
• If using a microwave, cook the turkey immediately after thawing
Clean and Separate
• Wash hands with soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds before and after handling food
• Keep cutting boards, dishes, utensils, countertops and food preparation equipment clean - wash with hot soapy water and thoroughly rinse after preparing each food item
• Keep raw meat separate from food in your shopping cart, grocery bags and in the fridge
• Use one cutting board for ready-to-eat food and a separate one for raw meat
Cook and Chill
• Cook the turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 85°C (185°F) - use a probe thermometer to check
• Cook stuffing separately to a minimum internal temperature of 74°C (165°F) prior to stuffing the turkey
• “Slow cooking” below 177°C (350°F) is not recommended as it allows harmful bacteria to multiply
• Keep hot pre-cooked turkey in the oven at a temperature of at least 60°C (140°F) and eat within two hours
• Reheat leftovers to 74°C (165°F) or higher 
• Keep your refrigerator temperature at 4°C or (40°F) or lower 
• Store perishable foods (meats and dairy products) in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible
• Refrigerate or freeze cooked turkey and stuffing within two hours after cooking
• For large cooked turkeys, remove the meat from the bone and refrigerate or freeze in small containers
• For stuffed turkeys, remove leftover stuffing and refrigerate at 4°C (40°F) or lower
• Refrigerate leftover food as soon as possible and use within 48 hours
For more information on this or any other health-related program, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933.
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Media Contact: Lisa Sposito, Community and Health Services, York Region
 1-877-464-9675, ext. 4106 • After-Hours Cell: 905-955-2533 •

Founded in 1971, The Regional Municipality of York is made up of nine municipalities
and provides services to more than one million residents, 29,000 businesses and 495,000 employees.

 For more information visit us at Follow us on : York Region   @YorkRegionGovt  
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