How do you safely handle a turkey?
Follow these simple food safety guidelines:
- Thaw frozen turkey in the refrigerator or cold water.
- Keep thawed or fresh turkey in the refrigerator.
- Prevent uncooked juices from dripping onto other foods in the refrigerator by placing packaged turkey on a tray.
- Thawed turkey may be kept in the refrigerator up to four days before cooking.
- Roast fresh turkey as soon as possible, but no later than the Use By date on the package.
- Place raw poultry on non-porous surfaces; these are easy to clean. It is recommended to use two cutting boards, one strictly to cut raw meats and the other for cooked and ready-to-eat foods. Cutting boards should be washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water after each use and allowed to air dry or dried with fresh paper towels.
- Use paper towels, not cloth, to wipe off turkey and clean up juices.
- Combine stuffing ingredients and stuff turkey just before roasting, not the night before.
- Wash hands, work surfaces and utensils touched by raw poultry and its juices with hot, soapy water and disinfectant.
- Use cooking methods that allow the turkey to reach an internal temperature of 140°F in less than four hours and a final temperature of 180°F in the thigh. If stuffed, the stuffing should reach 165°F. Avoid using low roasting temperatures or partial cooking methods.
- Use a meat thermometer to determine turkey’s doneness.
- Store turkey, stuffing, gravy, broth and other leftover cooked foods in separate containers in the refrigerator within two hours after cooking.