Avoid Post-Turkey Day Food Poisoning
Thanksgiving leftovers rank at the top of the "best of" Thanksgiving list. Who can resist a fabulous turkey sandwich with cranberries, gravy and stuffing? However, before you bite into that tasty masterpiece, think about this: Each year, over 400,000 people suffer from food poisoning after consuming Thanksgiving leftovers. Follow these food safety tips to avoid becoming a miserable statistic.
Sometimes, Thanksgiving leftovers are better than the actual Thanksgiving meal. However, the leftover goodness doesn't seem so great if you're struck with food poisoning. Believe it or not, over 400,000 people get food poisoning from Thanksgiving leftovers each year.
Food poisoning after Thanksgiving -- or any time of the year -- is no fun. The FDA recently sent out a press release directing people to its website on food safety tips for healthy holidays. Perhaps the FDA says it best: "Parties, family dinners, and other gatherings where food is served are all part of the holiday cheer. But the merriment can change to misery if food makes you or others ill."
Don't become a statistic
Hoping not to become one of the 400,000 sickies? Sounds like a good plan. Use these food safety tips from the FDA to avoid foodborne illness.
1. Keep it clean
Find out how to ruin a Thanksgiving turkey >>
2. Avoid cross-contamination
Learn how to avoid cross-contamination while cooking in this short video >>
3. Cook your food properly
The FDA suggests the following: "Insert a food thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey is safe when the temperature reaches 165 degrees F. If the turkey is stuffed, the temperature of the stuffing should be 165 degrees F."
4. Handle the stuffing with care
Scared of the stuffing? Try these Thanksgiving turkey stuffing alternatives >>
After the big day
Assuming you've followed the basics for preparing your Thanksgiving dinner, don't overlook the importance of properly handling the food after the meal has ended. Follow these food safety tips to avoid turning your Thanksgiving leftovers into bacteria breeding grounds.
Is your refrigerator clean? >>
When in doubt...
...throw it out. We know, we know. Who wants to throw out those delish foods? You do, as long as you don't want to spend a few days curled up on the bathroom floor. If you don't eat properly stored turkey in three days and the gravy in two, toss 'em.
If they're not safe to eat, try these creative uses for Thanksgiving leftovers >>
Additionally, if you've missed the boat on these food safety tips and failed to properly refrigerate your Thanksgiving leftovers in the two-hour window, chuck them in the trash. Better to miss out on that fantastic calorie-laden leftovers sandwich than endure food poisoning.
Remember to follow these food safety tips. Foodborne illnesses are miserable at best and severe or life threatening at worst.
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