York Region offers tips on safe food handling for an enjoyable Thanksgiving
The Regional Municipality of York reminds residents to follow simple food safety tips to reduce the risk of food poisoning this Thanksgiving.
Buy turkey at the right time
When you purchase your turkey is just as important as how you prepare and cook it. Fresh turkeys should be
purchased no more than two days before cooking and frozen turkeys at least four to six days before cooking.
Keep turkey separate from other food in your shopping cart and grocery bags and always remember to check
the best before date to determine its freshness before purchasing.
Thaw frozen turkey the safe way
Place the frozen turkey on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in a large container or platter to prevent juices
from contaminating other food several days before cooking. Twenty-four hours of defrosting time is needed for
every 2.5 kg (five pounds) of turkey (e.g. five hours/lb or 10 hours/kg). Frozen turkey should not be thawed on
countertops or at room temperature. If using a microwave, cook the turkey immediately after thawing.
Don’t undercook your turkey
Cook the turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 85°C (185°F) and use a probe thermometer to check,
inserting it in the thickest part of the meat without touching bone. Stuffing should be cooked separately to a
minimum internal temperature of 74°C (165°F). Slow cooking the turkey or the stuffing below an oven
temperature of 177°C (350°F) is not recommended as it allows harmful bacteria to multiply. Before serving, keep
hot pre-cooked turkey in the oven at a temperature of at least 60°C (140°F).
Keep leftovers safe for the next day
Refrigerate or freeze turkey and stuffing within two hours after cooking. For a large cooked turkey, remove the
meat from the bone and refrigerate or freeze in small containers. For stuffed turkey, remove leftover stuffing and
refrigerate at a temperature of 4°C (40°F) or lower. To reheat, cook to a temperature of 74°C (165°F) or higher. For
gravies, bring to a full rolling boil and stir during reheating. Leftover food should be eaten within two days.
When preparing any food, always remember to clean, separate, cook and chill:
- Wash hands with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds before and after handling food
- Keep cutting boards, dishes, utensils, cloths, countertops and food preparation equipment clean
- Use one cutting board for ready-to-eat food and a separate one for raw meat
- Keep your refrigerator temperature at 4°C or (40°F) or lower
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 or visit www.york.ca/foodsafety
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Media Contact: Lisa Sposito, Community and Health Services, The Regional Municipality of York
905-830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 4106 After-Hours Cell: 905-955-2533 firstname.lastname@example.org