USDA reminds people to take steps to keep Thanksgiving meals safe

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving, which means many people will be getting their plans in place to cook the holiday meal.

The United States Department of Agriculture wants to remind people as they prepare for the big meal,  they need to take steps to keep your food safe.

While you don’t need to cook the turkey until Thanksgiving Day if you want, buying and preparing foods should start over the next few days.

And by remembering some simple tips you’ll keep your guests from developing any food borne illnesses.

“Food safety is an issue over the holidays especially Thanksgiving because we know that 46 million or more turkeys will be consumed this Thanksgiving season and this is a meal that many consumers don’t typically prepare.  This is the one time a year that people are cooking for large groups of people often and so food safety is so important because foodborne illness can hospitalize people and we do know there are deaths from food-borne illness each year,”  Carmen Rottenberg with the USDA says

“If you’re buying a frozen turkey  you want to get it into your refrigerator 3-4 days before thanksgiving and that’s to insure that the entire turkey is thawed, but I just want to note that you can cook a turkey from frozen state or from any state of frozen if your turkey is completely frozen it will take approximately 50 percent more time than what is listed on the cooking instructions for a thawed turkey but it will be perfectly safe to eat as long as the internal temperature  as measured in the breast the thigh and the innermost part of the wing register at 165 degrees.”

The USDA wants to make sure you cook foods to proper temperatures, keep raw and cooked foods separate, clean surfaces where you prepare the foods and store foods properly within two hours of the meal.

if you have questions on how to cook that holiday meal you can call their meat and poultry hotline at 1-888-MP-HOTLINE.