The holidays are rapidly approaching and with them comes food and lots of it.  With Thanksgiving only days away, we thought we would pass along some food safety tips in order to help you and your family stay healthy. 

Cleanliness is key in the preparation of all food.  If you need some guidance, check out the USDA’s website at  When it comes to the turkey, you can go to, or call their hotline, 1-800-288-8372, for safe preparation and always read the cooking instructions on the turkey.

Or try the cooking website We Are Not Martha at  which details step by step instructions on how to thaw, brine and the length of time to cook a turkey. 

Be aware of the “Danger Zone” (40 °F - 140 °F) for food, which is where most bacteria breed  – see

Undercooking or leaving food out too long can cause illness.  Never leave food out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.  If the temperature is above 90 °F, food should not be left out more than 1 hour.

Remember to keep hot food hot – at or above 140 °F.  The converse is true - keep cold food cold – at or below 40 °F.

Raw meat and poultry should always be cooked to a safe internal temperature. When roasting meat and poultry, use an oven temperature no lower than 325 °F. See for the cooking temps for various meats and poultry. 

If you aren't going to serve hot food right away, it's important to keep it at 140 °F or above.

One of the most common causes of foodborne illness is improper cooling of cooked foods. Bacteria can be reintroduced to food after it is safely cooked.  For this reason, leftovers should be put in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerated at 40 °F or below within two hours.

If reheating, foods should be reheated to an internal temperature of 165 °F or until hot and steaming. In the microwave oven, cover food and rotate so it heats evenly.

We wish you and your family a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

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